The Raving Theist

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Joie de Mort

February 2, 2009 | 86 Comments

On Friday night, David Letterman profusely apologized to the mother of the late
comedian, Bill Hicks, for having cut Hick’s stand-up routine from his show some fifteen years before. “What was I thinking?” said Letterman. “This says more about me as a guy than it says about Bill because there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. It’s just perfect.”

Letterman explained that he could now empathize with the mother for the pain
she suffered over the cancellation because in the intervening years he had had
a son. But fatherhood apparently didn’t alter his perpective in other respects. Like George Carlin, Hicks was a pro-abortion atheist and part of the routine that Letterman found “perfect” was this riff:

People annoy me, you know what’s really annoying me, these pro-life people. You ever look at their faces?

(Imitating pro-lifer with wide-eyed, blank stare and “church lady” voice): “I’m pro-life.”

Why, don’t they look it, they just exude joie de vivre, you know? You see them try to go to an orphanage and try to adopt a kid?
(Imitating prolifer): “We’re pro-life, we’re here to adopt.”
The kids are just, “don’t pick me, oh noooo . . . I’ll eat gruel, fifteen to a bed, no problem, just keep Heather’s two mommies coming and we’re fine in here.

(Imitating prolifer): “I’m pro-life.”

You know, if you’re really pro-life, do me a favor. Don’t lock arms and block med clinics, okay? If you’re so pro-life, do me a favor . . . lock arms . . . and block cemeteries, okay? Let’s see how committed you are to this idea:

(Imitating prolifer): “She can’t come in!”
(Hicks): “She was 98, she was hit by a bus!”
(Imitating prolifer): “There’s options!”
(Hicks): “What, are we going to have her stuffed? What are we going to do with her?”

(Imitating prolifer): “We’re pro-life.” That’s the same look non-smokers give you. (Imitating prolifer): “I’m a non-smoker.” “I’m a pro-life non-smoker.”

There’s also this profanity-laced routine on Youtube in which Hicks reveals
that his friends are “totally divided on abortion”: half of them think pro-lifers are “annoying idiots” and the other half think they’re “annoying f****s”.

I wonder if Letterman would have found Hicks’ routines “perfect” if they had
included pro-choice impressions. (“Hey, my neighbors’ daughter thought her
parents would “kill” her if they found out she was pregnant — so I snuck her
across state lines for abortion and killed their grandkid instead!”) Probably not — after all, no one can quite capture the “joie de mort” on the face of an abortion clinic escort once he’s successful whisked a client into the operating room.

Comments

86 Responses to “Joie de Mort”

  1. Christina
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 6:53 am

    ” no one can quite capture the “joie de mort” on the face of an abortion clinic escort once he’s successful whisked a client into the operating room.”

    Sadly, that’s true. I’ve seen “escorts” acting like football fans whose favorite player just scored a touchdown every time they successfully dragged some weeping woman past the prochoicers and shoved her in the “clinic” door. If they gave a rat’s ass about the women as people, they’d be trying to help them instead of treating them like points in some sort of macabre game.

  2. frustrated(mk)
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 7:42 am

    That is so true RT…I have stood outside of abortion clinics for years now, and two scenarios stand out in my mind. One happened just last week in DC.

    In both cases, the deathscorts were dancing after they managed to escort “clients” past us. In DC, she SKIPPED, I kid you not, in front of us…back and forth, back and forth…with a maniacal grin on her face. The teens that were with us asked us about it later…said it disturbed them greatly.

    It is one thing to believe that a woman has the right to end her pregnancy by convincing yourself that the child she carries is not human/a person…it is quite another to CELEBRATE abortion. What kind of a person does a happy dance because they “scored one for the Gipper”? Who, besides Hannibal Lecter, actually revels in death?

  3. frustrated(mk)
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 7:44 am

    Christina,

    I wrote my comment before I read yours. I’m glad I did, or it would look like I was “Copying” you. Instead, it simply verifies that this DOES happen…sick, and really, really sad!

  4. Lily
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 7:50 am

    It is painful to read your accounts, Christina and mk. I watched that video. I suppose it says something about how calloused I have become that I wasn’t so much shocked by his depiction of pro-lifers, as I was annoyed by its stupidity. It isn’t just babies that the pro abortion crowd dehumanizes.

  5. Carla
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 8:14 am

    One would think that any human being with compassion would stop a woman who was obviously upset, crying and apparently in anguish and ask her, “Are you sure you want to do this?”
    I know some escorts assume that women are crying BECAUSE of the prolife presence.That the prolifers are “upsetting” her. They have to tell themselves that. They have to believe that what they are doing is HELPING WOMEN. The skipping?? MK that is pure evil.

    Women go in crying and leave crying and the killing continues.

  6. Dr. Frank N. Stein
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 8:35 am

    I enjoy scraping cells from the womb. A suction curette is my common tool, and could be very boring if it weren’t for the fact that the young woman’s body is still very shapely and not stretched out as in her third trimester. Partial-birth abortion is my favorite. # Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby’s legs with forceps.

    # I pull the baby’s leg out into the birth canal.

    # I deliver the baby’s entire body, except for the head.

    # I jam a pair of scissors into the baby’s skull, and then I open the scissors to enlarge the baby’s skull.

    # I remove the scissors and insert a suction catheter. The child’s brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed.

    This way, I can say the child was never really “born” when I abort the pregnancy. If a mistake is made, and the baby’s head does fall out, it could be legally documented as murder, if I continue the process. So it is exciting for me to work at doing my job, while keeping the head in the vagina. If the procedure is completed successfully, we meet at a specified location (my staff and I) and celebrate with drinks and dancing!

    I love my job. Not many people can say that. I enjoy going to work every day, as I am paid VERY well and do very little. God has never asked me to stop doing it.

  7. Lily
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 8:43 am

    Oh, look guys! I always thought trolls were fictional creatures. Who knew they were real?

    And ugggllllyyyy!

  8. frustrated(mk)
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 8:48 am

    Frank,

    God has never asked me to stop doing it.

    That’s cuz God stopped talking to you a long time ago…right about the time you stopped listening.

    If you think that last post shocked us, think again. We don’t expect anything else from the soulless ones. BTW, it’s a lie that once you sell your soul to the devil, you can’t get it back. You can. You might have to dust it off, as he was never really interested in “you” anyway…he tossed your soul aside like so much garbage, much as you treat your patients. A little “shout” oughta clean it right up…

  9. Lily
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:10 am

    Did you take the troll seriously, MK? Or are you gently suggesting that anyone who could write such filth should think about the state of his immortal soul?

  10. frustrated(mk)
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:22 am

    Lily,

    ;)

  11. Dr. Frank N. Stein
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:22 am

    People,
    I just thought that since you enjoy talking about abortion (you do often), you should hear all sides. I provide the view from the front lines. I am an actor in your play. There are many of us in the world and the law is on our side. You will never overturn Roe vs. Wade, simply because our lobby groups are well supported. We do this for the money. Emotion, politics, religion, etc… play no part in the process of whether a procedure is scheduled. If you try to appeal to our mental convictions, you will surely fail, as we do not have bleeding hearts. We have bank accounts. You missed the point if you believe we dance in celebration of the abortion. We dance for you, to show that your efforts have not affected our bottom line. You are indeed a necessary evil in our jobs, for you are advertising for us. People may forget that abortion is available, were it not for you keeping our clinics in the headlines and on the blogs. For that, we thank you.

  12. Catholic Cat
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:24 am

    Always have to make sure to be loving to the women.
    Even if they are acting rude to you when you’re waiting outside protesting.
    The last thing they need is someone yelling at them about how disgusting they are. Thankfully, I don’t see that happen that much. But it does happen.
    As Christians were called not only to love the unborn child, but the conflicted woman who very well might make that decision that we all wish she wouldn’t.
    It’s not the easiest, but the right thing usually isn’t the easiest thing to do.

  13. Lily
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:49 am

    Oh brother, what world does our troll inhabit? Abortion rates have been doing nothing but dropping the last decade or so (Christian can provide exact stats) and every single survey ever done shows that Americans are deeply ambivalent about abortion– willing to tolerate it in the first trimester and squeamish to appalled by later term abortions.

    FOCA, if the Chosen One is mad enough to push it, will put the final nail in the unrestricted abortion license in this country.

    Take that to the bank, troll.

  14. Joanne
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 10:44 am

    Hm. I actually found Hicks’ routine sort of funny, including the part about prolifers. (I watched the Letterman clip only, not the other.) Maybe knowing he’s deceased and not still out there doing this routine, and also seeing that the prolife position seems to be gaining traction among young people, makes it easier to be forgiving. But, I think more to the point, I have been feeling for a while now that all the bad publicity that prolifers get is not *entirely* a function of ill will on the part of those who favor legalized abortion – I think some of it is our own fault. I think the default position among decent human beings is to be prolife, so imo, we need to look at ourselves and our strategies and determine what we could be doing better.

    As for the people who work at the clinics, I know alot of them ARE sick and sickening, as described above, but I knew some very well-meaning women in nursing school who wanted to work for Planned Parenthood after graduation, or were working part-time for them while we were in school. Not everyone involved in committing abortions is a frothing-at-the-mouth sociopath, and portraying abortion providers and their accessories this way won’t ultimately help our cause, I don’t think. (Probably the language I just used isn’t very conciliatory either, though. ;) ) That said, when I was doing my labor and delivery clinical, I knew that a particular doctor in the unit performed abortions (I’m sure there were more, I just didn’t know who they were), and I did have a hard time being around him. I shudder a little even now when I think about him. And to be honest, of course I’m hoping that all my well-meaning classmates have moved on to more life-affirming jobs!

  15. K T Cat
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 11:23 am

    I’m pro-life. I have an adopted daughter. She’s a joy and a wonder. I tell her that maybe I didn’t pick her, maybe she picked me. You should see how it makes her smile.

  16. frustrated(mk)
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

    Frank,

    Tell us something we don’t know…sheesh! Like no duh!

    Joanne,

    I too have met many, many pro choice people, including some that escort clients into the clinic. NO, they are not all monsters. I was just reminded of these two because of RT post…and we didn’t antagonize her. We prayed. On the busride home, a woman made a comment about them dancing in hell, and I got up and said that we needed to remember that the only difference between “us” and “them” is that by the GRACE OF GOD we were sitting on this bus instead of guarding that clinic. Then we prayed some more for her.

    People like her and Frank, do not anger or disgust me. They break my heart. As in the holocaust. Yes, I cry for the Jews. Yes I cry for the unborn. But mostly I cry because human beings are capable of such ugliness. I cry for those that have lost the very thing that makes them “human”. God breathed his spirit into each of us. Some of us, have “exhaled” a little too enthusiastically. My tears are shed for them.

  17. UnspeakablyViolentJane
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

    LOL! Octuplets have us a little defensive today?

  18. frustrated(mk)
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

    VJ,

    I have no idea what that means…you do realize that from the get go, the CC would have opposed the octuplets. Not letting them be born, but way back when they were creating embryos in a lab…? By the time we get to her actually being jobless and giving birth to eight more children (+the six)the laundry list of what’s wrong with this picture is staggering. The only thing she did right, was actually allow them to live once all of the other atrocities had been committed.

  19. Disgustipated
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

    Bill Hicks was hilarious. Thanks for the reminder.

  20. Joanne
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

    “I got up and said that we needed to remember that the only difference between “us” and “them” is that by the GRACE OF GOD we were sitting on this bus instead of guarding that clinic.”

    That’s great. That’s exactly what we need to do. I’m sort of a “convert” to the prolife cause, I cringe to say. I used to defend, albeit reluctantly, legalized abortion. I didn’t mean to sound critical in my last post. Sorry if it came across that way. And thank you for being in front of the clinics. I go occasionally on my days off, but not enough. I also volunteer at a shelter for pregnant women/new mothers and their babies, run by prolifers, which to be honest, I much prefer to being in front of a clinic. Still, I have no excuse – I should be doing more.

    What Bill Hicks’ routine makes me wonder is – does his mother favor legalized abortion? My mother is not a stand-out prolifer, but she would only vote prolife. It must be strange to have parents that favor legalized abortion. Yuck.

  21. Christina
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

    For those who claim the women are crying and foot-dragging because they’re afraid of the prolifers, go stand outside an abortion mill one day. I’ve seen women looking around like they were seeking an escape, making eye contact with the prolifers, reaching for the pamphlets and having their arms smacked aside by the “escorts” so they couldn’t take them.

    I’ve seen escorts go up to a car with a weeping woman inside, open the door, and literally drag her out. An acquaintance of mine, Dolores, saw escorts hold the door open so a couple could pull a teenage girl in who was struggling to get away from them.

    A prochoice friend once approached me when I was outside the “clinic” in Harrisburg. He was dating one of the “escorts” and had asked her why she was there, and he said that her story didn’t make any sense. He’d come down to see for himself. He was disturbed by what he saw — not by what the prolifers were doing, but by the way the “escorts” were acting. As if it was all a game, as if the women were not really people with real problems but were just so many game pieces to be gotten into the building.

  22. Swk6
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

    Yeah, a pro-choice routine wouldnt have been nearly as funny. They just aren’t plain nutballs like the prolifers are.

  23. Catholic Cat
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

    “Yeah, a pro-choice routine wouldnt have been nearly as funny. They just aren’t plain nutballs like the prolifers are.”

    Well,
    Thinking that an unborn child has no inherent right to live is at least alittle nutty, right?

    But I guess I can understand what you’re saying. If you were to hang out with me you’d probably disagree with me on alot of things and think that I was a nutball for believing what I believe. There’s not too much I can do about that though, aside from explaining my position.
    But, to one quick to call another a “nutball” for their actions on something as seemingly innocent as ‘wanting an unborn child to be able to have a chance to live and experience life’…. that explanation would probably fall on deaf ears.

  24. Swk6
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

    True. You and I have vastly different definitions of what a “child” is.

    So to you (and the nutballs), I would highly recommend not getting an abortion. Others thankfully, may choose the option to abort the fetus.

  25. Carla
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

    Why not get an abortion?

  26. Lily
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 8:04 pm

    Yeah, a pro-choice routine wouldnt have been nearly as funny. They just aren’t plain nutballs like the prolifers are. Pure evil is never funny.

    But you are! I’ll bet you don’t even begin to see the humor in a heedless male telling women that they are nutballs for objecting to abortion.

    Now why would that be? Could the reason be found in the fact that men between 18-44 are the chief beneficiaries of abortion? If you can call such males “men”. I think we could have a nice discussion on that particular subject.

  27. Swk6
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 8:47 pm

    Thanks Lily, I am quite hilarious. However, that is a completely different topic.

    I have absolutely no problem if a woman “objects” to an abortion. Ultimately it is her decision. I have a problem when nutballs (and Lily you are the Queen nutball) tell the rest of the women in the country that they may NOT make that decision. That is your end game is it not?

  28. frustrated(mk)
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

    Viva La Nutballs!!!!!

    Swk6,

    Tell me Oh Mentally Healthy One, do you have a problem when nutballs tell the rest of the country that rape is inexcusable? Or Pedophilia? Or carjacking? How ’bout those crazies that make us wear seatbelts? Tell us we can’t smoke in public? Or the loons that won’t let us drive 90 miles an hour down residential streets…oh, oh, I know, how ’bout the Vicar of Sanity that wants to spend 2 billion dollars to update the Smithsonian? Or freshen up the state parks?????

    Yeah, like I said, VIVA la NUTBALLS!

  29. frustrated(mk)
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:09 pm

    Queen of the Nutballs,

    May I be a Lady in your Court????? Pretty please????

    *curtsies*

  30. Lily
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:16 pm

    Yes, indeed, Your Lowliness. There will always be a place for Princess Nutballs in my Queendom!

  31. Swk6
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

    Oh silly MK…Trix are for kids!!

    The examples you gave are denying civil liberties to actual human beings….not a fetus. Again, most of us “mentally healthy ones” (your words not mine, but very true), have an issue with what you’re ascribing an actual human being as. I say a fetus…you say a BABY!!!! Awww, how cute!

    Now go play in your little kingdom now.

  32. Carla
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

    Nutballs for LIFE!!
    I’m in.

  33. Swk6
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

    Oh great…more puns.

  34. frustrated(mk)
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

    Swk6…

    You think a fetus is not a human being and we’re the nutballs???? hahahahahahahahhahahhahahahahahahah! That’s a good one. I thought you were being serious, but you were just making a joke…hahahhahahahah….

    Seriously, you need to get out more. The last time a woman gave birth to puppies was….oh, wait, never.

    What is with you people and the word fetus? Are toddlers people? elderly? You? Fetus is a word that describes a stage in a humans life. It doesn’t tell you WHAT it is, it only tells you how old it is.

    # an unborn or unhatched vertebrate in the later stages of development showing the main recognizable features of the mature animal
    wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    # A fetus (or foetus or fœtus) is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate, after the embryonic stage and before birth. …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetus

    # An animal in the later stage of development before birth. In humans, the fetal stage is the from the end of the third month until birth.
    http://www.ornl.gov/TechResources/Human_Genome/publicat/genechoice/glossary.html

    # The unborn young of a viviparous vertebrate having a basic structural resemblance to the adult animal.
    http://www.bestfriendspetcare.com/dog_glossary/dog-terms-F.cfm

    OH AND LOOK, UNDER DEFINITIONS OF BABY

    an unborn child; a human fetus; “I felt healthy and very feminine carrying the baby”; “it was great to feel my baby moving about inside”

    My My My…imagine a bunch of nutballs turning the dictionary for definitions of words…what will they think of next…

  35. Joanne
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 10:11 pm

    “The examples you gave are denying civil liberties to actual human beings….not a fetus.”

    Right. Why would anyone think that the product of a human mother and a human father is an actual human being?

  36. Lily
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 10:32 pm

    Oh man, trust nutballs to be slimy users of dictionaries!Are there no depths to which you two will not sink? It cannot end well, if we start calling a spade a spade. Or a fetus a human …

  37. Swk6
    February 2nd, 2009 @ 11:30 pm

    Yes. Your definitions are correct. It is “developing”, just not developed. Kind of like a half microwaved Hot Pocket. It has potential to be a Hot Pocket, but I wouldnt eat it.

    No Lily, there really are no depths. By the way, have you gotten laid yet? Like in the last 10 years? Don’t answer, I already know.

    Are you calling babies “products” Joanne? Thats a bit harsh for a Xtian is it not?

  38. Richard Norris
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 2:37 am

    I love the christians complaining about abortions and the murder of babies when one tribe after another was wiped out by the Israelites in the land of Caanan, toddlers, pregnant women and all others killed by the sword just so their salvation story could be started in the Holy Land. God commanded all of those people to be killed without exception, a complete genocide reserved for each tribe by Jehova. Did the women cry as the warriors approached from the field of war, knowing their husbands had already died defending their land, their culture? Did the human beings tumble out of their mothers sliced bellies when the sons of God came killing? Did it look like all of those abortion photos we see at protests? The massive amount of death that was required to set up the coming of the savior makes the Salvation Industry one of the bloodiest and sickening affairs imaginable. Christians dance around in joy after being saved, glad that they were one of the lucky ones that got to be born after the arrival of the savior. Maybe Christians should take a little time out of their day and thank God for killing most of the heathens in Caanan and for killing the Israelites who worshipped improperly because their continued existence didn’t jibe with his Plan. Thank God for all of the people who had to die just so you could get into Heaven thousands of years later. Thank God for making you a complicit member of the Salvation Industry, an industry that has sent far more souls to Hell than it ever saved.

  39. Kamikaze189
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 2:39 am

    Here’s a fun game for Christians to play. Try to pinpoint the exact point at which something suddenly becomes a full person. At any time. You can say that if the parents even think of having a child and change their mind — as in, without ever having sex — that they’ve aborted a child. Also remember that the fertilization process itself is not immediate. And since we’re talking about law, you can leave non-scientific explanations at the door. It may as well be your religion’s whim to abort as to not abort. Without any rational reasoning behind it, there’s really no difference.

  40. Lily
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 3:52 am

    For sheer head-scratching, mind-numbing, irrelevance, #38 takes the cake, though not without serious competition from #39. So, let’s see, 3000 years ago, Iron Age warriors practiced brutal warfare. Ergo, 50 million + American babies must die in a 36 year period in the late 20th century. OK. Got it. I know I’m convinced. The slaughter must go on.

    Here’s a fun game for someone who isn’t thinking very clearly. Try to pinpoint the exact point when a part person becomes a full person. Hmmm. Could it be when the part person has its own complete DNA?

    Then we have an analogy (#37), which for sheer, gut-wrenching hilarity, ought to get a special award in a category for which an adjective will have to be invented. There is no current English word to cover it: a fetus is like a partially microwaved Hot Pocket.

    Ladies and gentlemen! I give you exhibit A– the product of the American public school system. I know I’m proud to see what my tax dollars bought. (Pleez, pleez, pleez, by all that his holy– let him not be one of ours!)

    I dunno. After 36 years of this nation’s “profound” thinkers trying to defend the indefensible, the best you lot can come up with is– “It a half microwaved Hot Pocket” or “it’s a part person” or “not having sex after having thought about having a child is abortion too”?

    Oy vey!

  41. Beelzebub
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 4:13 am

    The ‘complete DNA’ distinction doesn’t hold water either, since we now know that mammals can be cloned using somatic cell nuclear transfer. This means that just about any cell in your body is potentially another you, upon transference to an enucleated egg. It’s only a matter of time before biotech figures out how to de-differential somatic cells on their own and then xfer them to surrogate mothers — or even grow them in a simulated uterus.

    So how are you going to support the charade when literally any cell can be made into another human? You can put off Kamikaze’s question for a while, but not indefinitely. Eventually, you’re going to have to answer the question ‘when does a person become a person’ in scientific terms — either that or legislate away the science itself, which will probably prove impossible, since it will probably be an adjunct to other life-saving technologies. You’ll be between a moral rock and hard place. Eventually, religious people are going to have to cease trying to build that bridge to the eleventh century and face the music, and society is not going to allow you to duck behind the curtain of superstitious gibberish.

  42. Kamikaze189
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 4:17 am

    DNA? How did you conclude that having DNA is the mark of full person? Sometimes, the result of pregnancy isn’t a “person” (even by your definition). Sometimes it’s more of a lump. It has DNA.

  43. jolly atheist
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 4:38 am

    Let’s follow logic: Pro-life defends fetus is alive and you shouldn’t kill. How about cancer? CANCER CELL IS ALSO ALIVE. YET WE STRUGGLE OUR HARDEST TO KILL IT. Why is the fetus more precious than the cancer cell? Because one prolongs our species whereas the other is fatal to it. And animals..God created us in such a way that we have to kill animals to survive. Then this “Thou shall not kill” commandment is for our own species only. Doesn’t that sound very egoistic of the human species with a God present? All the other creatures – they are creations of God as well. But God seems to care about one among a million species he has created.

  44. Beelzebub
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 4:38 am

    The problem here is one of shifting metrics for moral calculation. The traditionalists want to force the situation and insist on using their own moral Calculus based on yesterday’s knowledge. The trouble is that in years to come deficiencies in that system are going to become more and more evident. For instance, it’s quite possible that GW Bush has already killed many people due to his stem cell decisions, that is, the denial of medical treatments that may have arisen from them. Now, these specific deaths, if any, are not directly identifiable, but that would not make them any less real if they happened. Someone or another just expires in a hospital room somewhere who wouldn’t have otherwise. And deniability will remain on the side of the traditionalists. However, it won’t forever. What’s going to happen when a trickle becomes a torrent of lives lost due to obstruction of research caused by people who can’t prove that what they are saving is a real person? — and because they were too frightened to ever give it any thought? It all depends on who frames the debate and who’s moral calculus is used. Denial of abortion or unsafe abortion killed many women pre-R v. W. Anti abortions will attempt to frame this as a responsibility issue with the mother and not consider the specifics of each case in point. But again, it all depends on who’s framing the argument, and who’s doing the ethical evaluations. That argument may make perfect sense cast in terms of the tenets of a particular religion without making any sense outside them. Anti-abortionists often appear to be nonplused by the opposition’s anger. It never seems to be driven home to them that the opposition thinks THEY’RE the one’s trying to bring back the killing and the life ruination. And why shouldn’t they? Anti-abortionists adamantly refuse to address the only issue that might make a difference in objective terms and free of religious creed. When does a person become a person?

  45. Beelzebub
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 4:59 am

    According to this Straight Dope article:
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2510/before-em-roe-em-v-em-wade-em-did-10-000-women-a-year-die-from-illegal-abortions

    In the early years of the prev century illegal abortion deaths totaled on the order of 5000-10,0000 deaths per year. He goes on to say that those numbers dropped dramatically due to antibiotics and physician assisted abortion, even prior to R v W, and uses that in a lame attempt to debunk the 10K numbers. But that misses the point. The take-away from this is that illegal abortion has THE POTENTIAL to kill thousands of women each year, depending on how aweful conditions can be made for them. Advanced medical procedure and effective pharmacology will make no difference even in the 21st century if they aren’t available or actively persecuted.

    Now, my whole point in this is to say that I am perfectly within my right and quite reasonable to base my ethical metric on this very fact. I KNOW women will die if abortion is made illegal. The other side has hand-waving arguments involving spirits and souls.

  46. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 6:32 am

    Okay,

    Let’s go real slow for those of us having a hard time keeping up…

    PERSONHOOD is a legal term. A human is granted PERSONHOOD after it is born. Period. It is a made up term that has no meaning to the abortion issue. Spellcheck doesn’t recognize the word.

    FETUS is a term that describes a “WHEN” not a “WHAT”…saying something is a fetus is like saying something is tall, or red. It DOESN’T tell you WHAT is tall or red.

    When you say fetus, I know that whatever you are talking about is “young” and still in the womb. But I don’t know WHAT you are talking about.

    In the case of the abortion issue you are talking about a HUMAN fetus. HUMAN. Not canine, not marsupial…HUMAN.
    Human tells us what…fetus tells us what age.

    You can call “it” a fetus all you like. But that has no bearing on whether you can take the life of human beings.

    This is sooooo elementary.

    The ‘complete DNA’ distinction doesn’t hold water either, since we now know that mammals can be cloned using somatic cell nuclear transfer. This means that just about any cell in your body is potentially another you, upon transference to an enucleated egg. It’s only a matter of time before biotech figures out how to de-differential somatic cells on their own and then xfer them to surrogate mothers — or even grow them in a simulated uterus.</I.

    And at some point they stop being cells and turn into GROWING (your word) PEOPLE…

    It doesn’t matter where they GROW, or what the catalyst is…the fact remains that at some point they cease to be a cell and become a human being.

    There is a moment, in indefinable, non tangible “MOMENT” when LIFE begins. The fact that our brains are two small to define what that “LIFE” force is, to capture that moment in words, to explain what the actual thing that animates us is, does not mean that it doesn’t exist.

    At some point LIFE begins. LIFE. In the real world, it begins at fertilization, when the egg ceases to be an egg and the sperm ceases to be a sperm, and the two become ONE, and LIFE begins. God, this is like kindergarten material!

    Life:
    a. The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism.

    In the case of men and women that LIFE is HUMAN…the FETUS is a HUMAN FETUS!

  47. Beelzebub
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 7:34 am


    At some point LIFE begins. LIFE. In the real world, it begins at fertilization, when the egg ceases to be an egg and the sperm ceases to be a sperm, and the two become ONE, and LIFE begins. God, this is like kindergarten material!

    No, it isn’t. Your simplistic approach is at the kindergarten level, but the subject isn’t. I disagree with almost everything you just said. I would argue that both sperm and egg are alive, but neither is a person. To suddenly say that sperm + egg united then becomes a person is to posit an unnatural discontinuity. I would say that that is as absurd as to say that a delivered child has the full rights of a human being but that moments before he/she had all the rights of a sack of potatoes. You are simply blithering nonsense. How can you possibly say that sperm+egg has any greater moral status than sperm and egg that were moments before separated? You can’t; you’re blowing hot air. And until you present your argument in a coherent fashion, sans superstition, you can’t realistically expect anyone to take you seriously. So go play with your Rosary beads and leave the adults alone.

  48. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 8:05 am

    Oh Please, B,

    You honestly think that a sperm sans the egg is the same thing as a sperm plus the egg????

    Seriously?

    Then why is it that the sperm on it’s own doesn’t grow, or reproduce? Why is it that the egg doesn’t magically turn into a turtle? The sperm and the egg must unite, WHY????

    You’re saying that nothing changes when they become one. A “NEW” thing is not formed? It remains as innocuous as the sperm alone or the egg alone?? Reaaaally?

    Okay.

  49. Lily
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 8:36 am

    Hmmm, MK. Bbub disagrees with you so you must go away and leave the adults alone. He has an opinion which he cannot offer for discussion. You must go away and stop arguing with him. Why is that men are so dismissive of women? Especially when ferociously defending their right to walk away from the girls and women (and potential child to be killed)they use or or hope to?

    What a stupid, ugly “argument” the aptly named Bbub has spewed! Of course he persists in claiming that you used the word “person” though you carefully refrain from it in favor of “human”, sees no difference between sperm and egg as separate cells and something different when they fuse– something Gray’s anatomy could explain to him.

    Yet yours is the kindergarden argument!

  50. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 8:50 am

    Lily,

    Perhaps BBub is engaging in “nap time”?

  51. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 8:52 am

    Bub,

    Maybe you could simplify this even further. For the sake of those that are still of a preschool mindset, what exactly IS the “thing” that exists after an egg accepts a sperm? You tell us…

  52. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 9:01 am

    BB,

    I would say that that is as absurd as to say that a delivered child has the full rights of a human being but that moments before he/she had all the rights of a sack of potatoes.

    Ahhhhhh…so you’re pro life then? When would you say that the sperm and egg combo attains status as a human?

    I would argue that both sperm and egg are alive, but neither is a person.

    And who would yo be arguing with??? Certainly not me, as I hold the same opinion.

    To suddenly say that sperm + egg united then becomes a person is to posit an unnatural discontinuity.

    Which is why I don’t say it. I said that it becomes a human which is not the same as a person, since personhood (for the 47th time) is a LEGAL term. Granted to someone that is no longer a sack of potatoes.

  53. Joanne
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 9:28 am

    “Are you calling babies “products” Joanne? Thats a bit harsh for a Xtian is it not?”

    Um, no, actually, it isn’t. But it reflects well on Christians that you expect us to be less harsh than others.

  54. Lily
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 11:06 am

    Looks like a lot of Americans bring a silly kindergarden mindset to abortion issues. Gallup is reporting that Obama’s decision to lift the prohibition on funding abortion and birth-control oversees is his least popular:

    … Obama’s decision to reverse the prohibition on funding for overseas family-planning providers may be the least popular thing he has done so far. This was an executive order that forbade federal government money from going to overseas family-planning groups that provide abortions or offer abortion counseling. Fifty-eight percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s decision to lift this ban, while only 35% approve of it….

    (www.gallup.com/poll/114091/Americans-Approve-Obama-Actions-Date.aspx)

  55. Kamikaze189
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

    “Then why is it that the sperm on it’s own doesn’t grow, or reproduce? Why is it that the egg doesn’t magically turn into a turtle? The sperm and the egg must unite, WHY????”

    You’ve missed the point. Your selection of a timeframe, when the egg and sperm touch, is arbitrary. You may as well say after the egg is fertilized or after birth.

    And where is the reasoning behind this selection of timeframe? Why is it better than “after the egg is fertilized” or “after birth” or anywhere in between.

    There are other moments you may rely on — when brainwaves could be detected. Or when the heart beats by itself. Certain growth. Certain times after the egg is fertilized.

    You chose: when the egg and sperm touch. How come, exactly?

  56. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

    Because it is at that moment, that “something” undefinable happens. That “Something” that was, becomes “something” that wasn’t.

    That is the moment that human life begins. That very seconds. It’s amazing! It’s the crux of everything, brought into a single moment! One second, it is a sperm and an egg…and in the next second it is something totally unique…it is LIFE! HUMAN LIFE! It is still human life all the way until it dies, but that is the MOMENT that it begins…and really, doesn’t everything worth anything in life come down to “moments”?

  57. Kamikaze189
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 4:45 pm

    “Because it is at that moment, that “something” undefinable happens. That “Something” that was, becomes “something” that wasn’t.”

    Something undefinable. Say, you didn’t want to legislate this, right? I think those silly lawyers and lawmakers like to define things.

    This conversation has clearly showed that it is extremely difficult for Christians to come up with a coherent, scientific reason to be completely anti-abortion. It rests as it is: a matter of opinion. Whenever you consider a fetus to be a person (or HUMAN LIFE, as Mr./Mrs. Frustrated put it) is based on differing things to differing people.

    Lily said DNA. Frustrated said when the sperm and egg touch. It isn’t really that much more ridiculous to say potential parents changing their mind is just as bad — the result is that a potential life won’t exist. (No matter how unconventional the thought is.) And I don’t mean to say that your positions on the matter -are- ridiculous. What’s ridiculous is that you (may) think everyone else must agree with you, or, at least, the government ought to.

    And, as I’m curious with that line of thought, what do you think people who want to have abortions will do if it’s illegal? What do you propose the government does to people who get illegal abortions?

  58. Lily
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

    “Lily said DNA. Frustrated said when the sperm and egg touch. It isn’t really that much more ridiculous to say potential parents changing their mind is just as bad — the result is that a potential life won’t exist.”

    Yes it is. It is gut-wrenchingly, mind-bogglingly ridiculous. Once the sperm and egg fuse it IS human life. It is not potential life. It is human life at a very early point in its development. Nothing further will happen to make it “more” human.

    What’s ridiculous is that you (may) think everyone else must agree with you, or, at least, the government ought to.

    It is the role of government (one of its few legitimate roles) to protect the weak and see that the constitutionally guaranteed rights to life, liberty, et al. are denied to no human on the basis of inconvenience or youth or old age or stage of development.

    what do you think people who want to have abortions will do if it’s illegal? What do you propose the government does to people who get illegal abortions?

    They will do what they did before it was legalized. Most will not abort. Some will find a way. What should happen to those who break the law? The abortionist should do hard time. Women have almost always been considered victims where abortion is concerned. I see no reason for that to change as a matter of law. Those who know the laws surrounding abortion pre Roe would be in the best position to answer this quiestion.

  59. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 5:57 pm

    .And, as I’m curious with that line of thought, what do you think people who want to have abortions will do if it’s illegal? What do you propose the government does to people who get illegal abortions?

    the same things they did in 1972.

    Lily and I are not in disagreement. I was just asked why I pick that particular moment, which is called fertilization for the legal minded, to focus on. And I said, because it is at the moment that LIFE begins. Lily says you can prove this, as a separate DNA is present. They compliment each other, not contradict each other.

    There is no true pro lifer that would say anything different.

    LIFE begins at fertilization.

  60. Beelzebub
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

    “Those who know the laws surrounding abortion pre Roe would be in the best position to answer this quiestion.”

    Their answer might surprise you.

    “LIFE begins at fertilization.”

    So you’re saying sperm and egg are not alive, yet sperm + egg are? I can see where this is a convenient demarcation for you, but you’re just playing with semantics. There is no more reason to call a fertilized egg life then an unfertilized egg. And an ovum is just as much a potential human as a fertilized egg. They are simply different stages of development. You can’t even justify saying that a fertilized egg is human due to its “having everything it needs” to become a person, since without the proper surrounding it will die as readily as the unfertilized egg. Add to this the phenomenon of parthenogenesis, the process where an unfertilized egg becomes a viable zygote on its own without a sperm, and the conclusion is unavoidable: There is no significant ontological or moral difference between fertilized and unfertilized egg.

    And, ONCE MORE, there is no moral, rational difference between a blastocyte and skin cells from a cheek rubbing! I could clone my cheek cells and you’d have two Beelzebub’s to deal with. One human cell has no moral status over another, regardless of origin.

    Finally, let me say something that you’re definitely not going to like hearing.

    It’s exactly the irrational and superstitious insistence that human life begins at conception that has obfuscated and obstructed a reasonable consensus on the origins of ‘personhood” that has quite possibly fueled real tragedy. What if we eventually find scientifically that there is a VERY GOOD REASON why an embryo becomes a human on, say, the 100th day of gestation, and all these years both sides have been too frightened and offended to approach the question in reasonable manner. Look at the amount of time and energy and money wasted that could be going toward an effort regarding that.

    If that day comes (and I have a feeling that eventually it will), neither side of this debate is going to look very good in the eyes of our descendents.

  61. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

    You can’t even justify saying that a fertilized egg is human due to its “having everything it needs” to become a person, since without the proper surrounding it will die as readily as the unfertilized egg.

    So would ALL humans. So would ALL LIFE. If I was placed under water I would not have everything I need to survive. As it is, I have everything to survive for the way I am. So does an embryo.

    I think you are the one playing semantics games. We are talking about HUMAN LIFE. I thought that was understood. Perhaps my kindergarten reference was not that far off the mark.

    A HUMAN LIFE begins at the moment that an egg and sperm join. Does that make it clearer for you?

    So you’re saying sperm and egg are not alive, yet sperm + egg are

    I never said that a sperm or an egg was not alive. They are one thing, and when combined they become another. I believe I have said that 4 or 5 times now. I also said that what was once a sperm and an egg are now a unique form of LIFE. A HUMAN LIFE. One that didn’t exist before. This is basic biology.

  62. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 7:10 pm

    Finally, let me say something that you’re definitely not going to like hearing.

    I don’t mind hearing it at all. In fact I welcome it. Because you will find that at the moment of FERTILIZATION, not conception, a new human LIFE is begun. Period. Prove me wrong. Have at it.

    As for life beginning in other ways, one does not cancel out another. If you can clone a cheek cell, there will still be a “moment” where the cheek cell ceases to be a cheek cell and becomes a new human LIFE…I don’t really understand why this changes the fact that at fertilization a new human LIFE is begun…

  63. Beelzebub
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

    As for life beginning in other ways, one does not cancel out another. If you can clone a cheek cell, there will still be a “moment” where the cheek cell ceases to be a cheek cell and becomes a new human LIFE…I don’t really understand why this changes the fact that at fertilization a new human LIFE is begun…

    I’m not going to argue against a fertilized egg being ‘human life’ since I’m the one saying that even more primordial forms are ‘human life,’ like individual sperm and egg. The resolution of the puzzle here is the realization that ‘human life’ is far more general — and will prove to be far more general — in its inception than is presently accepted. I’m referring to the possibility to clone cells, and so on.

    Given your definition of the inception of human life and the premise that it can also occur through cloning of one of my cheek cells, you’re basically boxed into the conclusion that human life (or, as I will continue to insist on, ‘personhood’ damn the legal definition) can be conceived purely through chemical manipulation. — For the somatic cell itself is not a human life, yet, as you concede “at some point” it becomes human, and the only intervention is by chemical means. Without resorting to superstitious magic, a pinch of supernaturalism here, eye of newt there, that is the only conclusion to be drawn.

  64. Beelzebub
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

    – And I left off the reductio ad absurdum part. If you grant that the only thing separating cheek cells from ‘personhood’ is chemicals, and you go on — as I think you will be forced to do — to discount the chemical manipulations as being trivial, you must conclude that each time I brush my teeth I’m flushing hundreds and thousands of human lives down the sink drain.

  65. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

    BB,

    You’re too smart for this line of thinking. NO ONE knows exactly what LIFE is. What the force is. We don’t know what makes a cheek cell a cheek cell. Or a dog a dog. We can take them apart and label them, and know a little about how to manipulate them, but we cannot begin to understand the LIFE force. NO ONE can.

    There is a difference between a human cell and a human life.

    Not human life…”A” human life. With it’s own identity.
    I know you know this. “A” human life is begun when a sperm and an egg unite. That’s fact. It’s not anything else. It’s no longer an egg. It’s no longer a sperm. It is a unique thing, created from something else. And that thing is “A” HUMAN LIFE. A skin cell does not have an eye color programmed into it. If left on it’s own it will never have a heartbeat.

    You can call it superstition. I just call it “unknown”. It is something we just don’t know yet. Not magic. A mystery. Someday we might be able to crack the code, but for now, we must settle for knowing that “A” HUMAN LIFE, exists where NO HUMAN LIFE existed before.

    As for personhood, do you mean a viable human being? Are you saying that the value of “A” HUMAN LIFE depends on the value placed on it by meeting a set of predetermined criteria? Such as sentience? Because that is far too subjective, and smacks more of superstition than the scientific fact that A NEW LIFE begins at fertilization.

  66. Beelzebub
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

    I at least applaud your willingness to try to argue this on my ground, without appeals to soul-insertion or other things that can’t be generalized outside Christianity. But in so doing you eventually are led to an appeal to our state of relative ignorance about these matter. That is my entire point — that by the end of this century that position will no longer be tenable. In the 19th century scientists still actually believed in spontaneous generation of life, that rotting meat would produce maggots right on its own. Today, of course, we know this is ridiculous. By 2100 any distinction between one of my cheek cells and a fertilized zygote may (I would say ‘will’) appear utterly absurd. Both are valid progenitors of human life.

    I don’t want to leave the impression that I don’t understand your point of view. Actually I understand precisely what you’re saying. It seems quite sensible to draw a line at conception, since given our present understanding, attempts to judge the inception a human individual based on a heartbeat, or neural formation, or brain waves…or whatever, appears hopelessly fraught with moral peril. But it won’t remain that way forever. Remember spontaneous generation.

    Of course within the bastion of the RCC abortion will remain anathema, and life will continue to originate at conception. However, history has shown that even the mighty RCC can’t hold out against heliocentric forever.

  67. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 8:59 pm

    Now BB,

    The Catholic Church is the one that DISCOVERED that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around. Galileo was Catholic, remember? The issue wasn’t with the science. The problem was that there were still glitches in his theory and he was insisting on “giving” it to a world that wasn’t ready to hear it. In her prudence, the Church was insisting that he wait until they had ironed out all of the creases. He died a Catholic in good Standing.

    As to the rest, only time will tell. The church, contrary to popular opinion, has been revolutionary in the sciences. I could list many of them but it’s late and I’m sure you’ve heard all this before.

    IF we were to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that “A” Human Life is not created until sometime after fertilization (I say fertilization because conception is NOW defined as at implantation) then I’m sure the church will see reason. For now, science is on our side and that is where the church falls. We will see. As I said, I welcome all and any new progress in this area. The Catholic Church is built on reason. She has always held that science and faith can coexist quite nicely. And she has never been proved wrong. It is only on those moral issues that she balks. And on most of those she either refrains from participating or simply puts her views out there. Rarely, does she step in and try to coerce or force her views on the world. Certainly not in this century. She only does so when the well being of the common good is jeopardized. As in the least and weakest among us being preyed upon.

  68. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 9:01 pm

    BTW,

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this conversation. It’s nice when we can put aside our snide remarks and contentious attitudes and just talk! Thank you. Really.

  69. frustrated(mk)
    February 3rd, 2009 @ 9:04 pm

    BB,

    Between you and me, tell me the truth, I promise I won’t tell anyone else ;) aren’t you in the least bit awed by this thing called “LIFE”. Doesn’t it just floor you? That “moment” when something happens and a new thing is created. I get heady just thinking about it! It’s like the ultimate mystery. The age old question…”what is the meaning of LIFE” is really “what does LIFE mean?”

  70. Beelzebub
    February 4th, 2009 @ 2:30 am


    Between you and me, tell me the truth, I promise I won’t tell anyone else aren’t you in the least bit awed by this thing called “LIFE”. Doesn’t it just floor you? That “moment” when something happens and a new thing is created. I get heady just thinking about it! It’s like the ultimate mystery. The age old question…”what is the meaning of LIFE” is really “what does LIFE mean?”

    Of course. Anyone who isn’t floored by the fact that a single cell can grow into a living organism just isn’t paying attention.

  71. jolly atheist
    February 4th, 2009 @ 6:21 am

    mk “The Catholic Church is the one that DISCOVERED that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around. Galileo was Catholic, remember?”

    Darwin is a Christian too! And yet the churches need to apologize!

  72. frustrated(mk)
    February 4th, 2009 @ 6:26 am

    BB,
    Thank you for that.

    JA,
    Why? Which church?

    In America one is accustomed to seeing religious figures condemn evolutionary theory and argue that teaching evolution is incompatible with Christianity. Catholicism, however, not only doesn’t reject evolution but in fact has supported evolutionary theory for quite some time – Pope John Paul II even expressed some support for it. This continues to surprise people because it’s simply not reported in the news very often.
    *
    In 1950, Pope Pius XII wrote in his encyclical Humani generis:
    “The Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, insofar as it inquiries into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter.”
    *
    On October 23, 1996, Pope John Paul II said in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:
    “[N]ew findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.”
    “A theory is a meta-scientific elaboration, which is distinct from, but in harmony with, the results of observation. With the help of such a theory a group of data and independent facts can be related to one another and interpreted in one comprehensive explanation. The theory proves its validity by the measure to which it can be verified. It is constantly being tested against the facts; when it can no longer explain these facts, it shows its limits and its lack of usefulness, and it must be revised.”

    http://atheism.about.com/od/popejohnpaulii/a/evolution.htm

  73. Lily
    February 4th, 2009 @ 8:05 am

    Apologize for what? Since when does any church need to apologize for not embracing a theory or discovery? Was Darwin jailed? Persecuted for his theories by the CoE or any other body? Just exactly why does anyone need to apologize?

  74. jolly atheist
    February 4th, 2009 @ 8:56 am

    Lily: Well, they did apologize. So I guess there was a need.

  75. frustrated(mk)
    February 4th, 2009 @ 9:07 am

    Jolly,

    I’m confused. Who apologized?

  76. jolly atheist
    February 4th, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

    Lily: That some priest of The Anglican Church apologized to (from?)Darwin were in the papers around September 2008. And also around same date, Papa declared acceptance of evolution (of course partially) There was an apology for Galileo as well – that may be earlier. I will try to find the exact sources and post them here.

  77. Matthew in Fairfax
    February 4th, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

    I believe many of you are at least partially correct. On the subject of Galileo, one news article: In October 1992, Cardinal Paul Poupard presented the Pope with the findings of the Galileo study commission, which declared, “From the Galileo case we can draw a lesson which is applicable today in analogous cases which arise in our times and which may arise in the future. It often happens that, beyond two partial points of view which are in contrast, there exists a wider view of things which embraces both and integrates them.” By Vatican standards, this rotund language was an apology. The Pope responded by saying that Galileo’s realizations about the sun and earth must have been divinely inspired: “Galileo sensed in his scientific research the presence of the Creator who, stirring in the depths of his spirit, stimulated him, anticipating and assisting his intuitions.” http://www.beliefnet.com/News/2000/03/The-Vaticans-Turn-To-Recant.aspx Official versions of Pope John Paul II’s address of October 1992 are available only in Italian, German and French. An unofficial English translation is here: http://bertie.ccsu.edu/~dsb/naturesci/Cosmology/GalileoPope.html The New Scientist published an article the following week, “Vatican admits Galileo was right”. From the article: “The trials were not a confrontation between science and faith, says [Father George Coine, who heads the observatory], because ‘Galileo never presented his science to the Inquisition. Science wasn’t even at the trial.”Last year, the Vatican announced it would erect a statue to Galileo: Nicola Cabibbo, head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and a nuclear physicist, said: “The Church wants to close the Galileo affair and reach a definitive understanding not only of his great legacy but also of the relationship between science and faith.” Huffington Post takes a cynical view of the whole thing, Vatican Rewrites History On Galileo. “The Vatican is recasting the most famous victim of its Inquisition as a man of faith, just in time for the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s telescope.” And finally, last month Pope Benedict XVI declared, “Thus there is a special concept of the cosmos in Christianity which found its loftiest expression in medieval philosophy and theology. In our day too, it shows interesting signs of a new flourishing, thanks to the enthusiasm and faith of many scientists who following in Galileo’s footsteps renounce neither reason nor faith; instead they develop both in their reciprocal fruitfulness.” On the subject of Darwin, from September 2008: “The Vatican said on Tuesday the theory of evolution was compatible with the Bible but planned no posthumous apology to Charles Darwin for the cold reception it gave him 150 years ago.” Reuters.From Pope John Paul II’s 1996 address, Truth Cannot Contradict Truth, “…I am pleased with the first theme you have chosen, that of the origins of life and evolution, an essential subject which deeply interests the church, since revelation, for its part, contains teaching concerning the nature and origins of man. … In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation, on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points.” Going back to the original point that started this tangent, Beelzebub said, “history has shown that even the mighty RCC can’t hold out against heliocentric forever.” This is correct as far as it goes, but if he believes that the Church intended to hold out against heliocentrism forever, he is mistaken. Opposition to planetary motion and heliocentrism was not Catholic dogma. So Beelzebub’s expectation that the Church will one day turn its back on the teachings of Humanae Vitae is not justified.

  78. Matthew in Fairfax
    February 4th, 2009 @ 1:15 pm

    (Once more with formatting)
    I believe many of you are at least partially correct.

    On the subject of Galileo, one news article:
    In October 1992, Cardinal Paul Poupard presented the Pope with the findings of the Galileo study commission, which declared, “From the Galileo case we can draw a lesson which is applicable today in analogous cases which arise in our times and which may arise in the future. It often happens that, beyond two partial points of view which are in contrast, there exists a wider view of things which embraces both and integrates them.” By Vatican standards, this rotund language was an apology. The Pope responded by saying that Galileo’s realizations about the sun and earth must have been divinely inspired: “Galileo sensed in his scientific research the presence of the Creator who, stirring in the depths of his spirit, stimulated him, anticipating and assisting his intuitions.”
    http://www.beliefnet.com/News/2000/03/The-Vaticans-Turn-To-Recant.aspx

    Official versions of Pope John Paul II’s address of October 1992 are available only in Italian, German and French.

    An unofficial English translation is here:
    http://bertie.ccsu.edu/~dsb/naturesci/Cosmology/GalileoPope.html

    The New Scientist published an article the following week, “Vatican admits Galileo was right”. From the article: “The trials were not a confrontation between science and faith, says [Father George Coine, who heads the observatory], because ‘Galileo never presented his science to the Inquisition. Science wasn’t even at the trial.”

    Last year, the Vatican announced it would erect a statue to Galileo: Nicola Cabibbo, head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and a nuclear physicist, said: “The Church wants to close the Galileo affair and reach a definitive understanding not only of his great legacy but also of the relationship between science and faith.”

    Huffington Post takes a cynical view of the whole thing, Vatican Rewrites History On Galileo. “The Vatican is recasting the most famous victim of its Inquisition as a man of faith, just in time for the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s telescope.”

    And finally, last month Pope Benedict XVI declared, “Thus there is a special concept of the cosmos in Christianity which found its loftiest expression in medieval philosophy and theology. In our day too, it shows interesting signs of a new flourishing, thanks to the enthusiasm and faith of many scientists who following in Galileo’s footsteps renounce neither reason nor faith; instead they develop both in their reciprocal fruitfulness.”

    On the subject of Darwin, from September 2008:
    “The Vatican said on Tuesday the theory of evolution was compatible with the Bible but planned no posthumous apology to Charles Darwin for the cold reception it gave him 150 years ago.” Reuters.

    From Pope John Paul II’s 1996 address, Truth Cannot Contradict Truth, “…I am pleased with the first theme you have chosen, that of the origins of life and evolution, an essential subject which deeply interests the church, since revelation, for its part, contains teaching concerning the nature and origins of man. … In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation, on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points.”

    Going back to the original point that started this tangent, Beelzebub said, “history has shown that even the mighty RCC can’t hold out against heliocentric forever.” This is correct as far as it goes, but if he believes that the Church intended to hold out against heliocentrism forever, he is mistaken. Opposition to planetary motion and heliocentrism was not Catholic dogma. So Beelzebub’s expectation that the Church will one day turn its back on the teachings of Humanae Vitae is not justified.

  79. jolly atheist
    February 4th, 2009 @ 1:22 pm
  80. jolly atheist
    February 4th, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

    And this one is for those who still defend creationism:

    http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22136550-5002700,00.html

  81. jolly atheist
    February 4th, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

    On October 31, 1992 The Catholic Church (Pope Jean Paul II)begs pardon for placing Galileo Galilei under life-long house arrest in 1633.

    This info is present in quite many addresses.

  82. Lily
    February 4th, 2009 @ 2:24 pm

    Matthew- thanks. That was very helpful. Jolly– the Catholic Church hasn’t ever defended creationism in its currently popular form, that I am aware of. Even the ancients knew better!

    The stupidity of the CoE’s “apology” is impossible to overstate. Honestly, many of the anglican Church biggies of his time were enthusiastic supporters. Some were not; they might even have been mean to him. Darwin’s books were received by the public with enthusiasm and he was a celebrity for the rest of his life. He was given a state funeral. For what, then, is the Archbishop apologizing? Rowan Williams deserved (as he always does) all the scorn heaped on him for this “apology”.

    This is some of what the Catholic Encyclopedia has to say about evolution:

    “To what extent is the theory of evolution applicable to man? That God should have made use of natural, evolutionary, original causes in the production of man’s body, is per se not improbable, and was propounded by St. Augustine (see AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO, SAINT, under V. Augustinism in History). The actual proofs of the descent of man’s body from animals is, however, inadequate, especially in respect to paleontology.”

    Oops. I almost forgot to mention– this is from the 1913 edition, which is the only one available online.

    (www.newadvent.org/cathen/05654a.htm)

    In its discussion of the development of biology, the Encyclopedia states:

    “However, after Charles Darwin had published his “Origin of Species”, in 1859, the new science progressed with the greatest rapidity, and at the present day there are but few prominent naturalists who do not contribute their share to phylogeny. At the same time it has gone through a considerable intrinsic development, mainly with respect to the rise and decline of the theory of natural selection as the chief factor in the development of species. Charles Darwin was born at Shrewsbury in 1809. He studied at the universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge, from 1831 to 1836 accompanied an English scientific expedition on board the “Beagle”, and passed the rest of his life in the village of Down, Kent, where he produced the numerous works which had such an incalculable influence on his age. Among Darwin’s fellow-workers Alfred Russel Wallace (born 1822) occupies the first place, since he was the co-discoverer of the principle of natural selection.”

    (www.newadvent.org/cathen/02572a.htm)

    I’m not seeing much here to support that only just now is the Church starting to believe in evolution or that the Pope is starting to “admit” that evolution is true.

    To believe that the popular press is capable of understanding religious matters and reporting them accurately is to believe the impossible.

  83. jolly atheist
    February 4th, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

    Matthew in Fairfax, you say: “…but if he believes that the Church intended to hold out against heliocentrism forever, he is mistaken. Opposition to planetary motion and heliocentrism was not Catholic dogma”

    But it was Catholic dogma. Actually, heliocentric theory was known since Aristarchus (310-230 BC). (You are very good in finding sources) But Jews/Christians/Muslims all alike rejected the theory because it was against their sacred texts. By the time Galileo was on stage, science had so much developed that it was no more possible to cover this fact.

    It is all the way until and during the time of Galileo that the church defended geocentric theory. Therefore, it was Christian dogma as well as Judaic and Islamic dogma. The Muslim philosophers are also said to have discovered heliocentric theory around 11-12th centuries, but again due to their dogma, they could not declare it.

  84. jolly atheist
    February 4th, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

    Lily: Popular press need not understand religious matters to report plain facts.

    Darwin acknowledges Wallace in his Origin of Species.

  85. Lily
    February 4th, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

    The problem, Jolly, is that it isn’t reporting “plain fact”. I guarantee you that not one secular journalist in 1000 knows that the Church was comfortable with the notion of evolution by 1913. They couldn’t write the drivel that they do, if they did know it– such as the headline to the story you linked to: “Pope Benedict *admits* evidence for evolution”! When did he ever deny it? This is misunderstanding fundamentally what the Pope actually said in that address and what he and the Church have believed for nearly 100 years. It is intellectual laziness on the part of the writer. Our newspapers are full of people who think they know what they do not know.

  86. Stand-Up Guy : The Raving Theist
    February 17th, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

    […] don’t expect him to be on David Letterman any time soon, but maybe they’ll put him on Saturday Night Live. His Obama impression is at […]

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