The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

Don’t Blame Me

May 31, 2009 | 126 Comments

I’m no killer, as I explain to President Obama in my guest post at The Dawn Patrol.

Comments

126 Responses to “Don’t Blame Me”

  1. Ilíon
    June 1st, 2009 @ 12:23 am

    Here’s my take on it: Safe, Legal, and Rare

  2. Ilíon
    June 1st, 2009 @ 12:39 am

    I didn’t even notice the thread below. Perhaps I should have posted there.

  3. Christina
    June 1st, 2009 @ 6:48 am

    Prolifers: It’s wrong to try to deal with people whose presence troubles you by killing them.

    Prochoicers: If somebody’s presence troubles you, you have an absolute right to kill them.

    Yet somehow it’s OUR philosophy that killed George Tiller?

    And let’s not forget that this was not a nice man. He bought political favor like most people buy toothpaste. He kept his supposedly deathly ill third trimester abortion patients in a motel room for three days with their babies rotting inside them — a practice that left a mentally disabled teenager dead. He performed abortions on women who hadn’t given consent at the behest of their parents or boyfriends. He left a baby blind, paralyzed, and mentally retarded by injecting formaldehyde into her brain.

    Anybody who thinks that this is deserving of some sort of gushing eulogy extolling his virtues is just as depraved as Tiller was.

  4. Christina
    June 1st, 2009 @ 6:49 am

    Oh, and by the way, the fact that Tiller was an active church member for years despite what he did certainly does prove many people’s anti-Christian assertion that there are people who profess Christianity while committing heinous evil. I gotta call this one a freebie for you.

  5. lily
    June 1st, 2009 @ 6:50 am

    It gets worse, Christina (and I agree with what you have said). I read yesterday that there have been calls for Obama to make today a national day of mourning for that butcher! The mind reels.

  6. Christina
    June 1st, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

    Nobody proclaimed a National Day of Mourning when that quack’s staff killed Christin Gilbert. Nobody proclaimed a National Day of Mourning when Sarah Brown died of injuries Tiller had inflicted on her in-utero.

    The pro-woman and pro-child branches of the prochoice movement have been conspicuously absent.

    It’s all about protecting the abortionists. The women were a smoke screen. Just compare the outrage over Tiller’s shooting with the collective yawn when one of these butchers kills a woman.

  7. Christina
    June 1st, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

    I was struck with a thought. We supposedly “incited” Tiller’s murder by calling what he did for a living “killing” and “murder” and “an abomination” and so forth.

    What of the people who called it “reproductive health care”? “The most fundamental right of women”? “LIberating”? Of the people who asserted that abortion is responsible, that it benefits women, that it helps build relationships and families, that it prevents child abuse? That there is absolutely no rational reason to object to it? That to deny abortion is to “force” parenthood, which is tantamount to murder, since it kills the woman’s spirit?

    How many murders has THAT rhetoric incited?

    Murder is the most common cause of death among pregnant women. How many of those murders were motivated by the idea that abortion is all those wonderful, benign things? That the woman could have no rational reason to object? And — what’s more — that by refusing to abort, she was FORCING PARENTHOOD on him. And FORCING PARENTHOOD is the worst thing you can do to somebody, right?

    How many murders were incited by prochoice rhetoric?

    Has anybody done the math?

  8. Christina
    June 1st, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

    Whenever an abortionist kills a patient, the response of the abortion lobby is to dismiss the death as an aberration. These deaths happen about ten times a year. (That the CDC admits to.)

    No matter how heinous the malpractice — having a “hand holder” assist with general anesthesia, shoving a hemorrhaging patient out the door in a wheelchair to bleed to death, massively overdosing a patient then leaving her unattended to lapse into a coma — we’re told that we’re not to let these “few bad apples” color our opinion of abortion practitioners in general. Think of the hundreds of abortionists who didn’t kill patients this year!

    But when an abortionist gets shot, the perspective changes. Suddenly the act of JUST ONE PERSON is a reflection of the roughly 160 million other people who object to abortion. His actions are representative. All those antichoicers are JUST LIKE HIM. We’re not to look at the actions of the 160 million prolifers who have done nothing violent. We’re only to look at this one guy. He’s representative.

    Ten dead patients a year aren’t a sign that abortionists are sloppy.

    One dead abortionist every ten years, however, is a sign that prolifers are violent.

    Which is just the sort of logic I’d expect from the movement that asserts that you honor motherhood by killing babies.

  9. Jody
    June 1st, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

    Might I drag the Reformation Lutheran Church into this? I will any way: Such luke warm religious bodies, who find it easier to provide cover for such a hypocritical man as George Tiller, than helping and healing the traumatic and tragic loss experienced by millions of men and women for a social issue the “victim” championed are more to blame than the generally described groups of Pro-Choice and Pro-Life. The religious leaders pay favor to the wealthy and powerful for what it benefits them personally. They find justifications to accommodate evil in public where the down trodden might hope for justice. It adds insult to injury. Methodism endures a lasting and painful legacy for permitting the support of slavery among many of its congregants over a century ago. The Methodist are not alone in using ambiguous and dangerously “inclusive” words to give evil a foothold where righteousness seeks to drive it out. Today, a congregation who provided a home for a man who spread evil, finds they have invited evil into their sanctuary. Evil found evil, and justice was thwarted still.

    Now, how many other religious institutions are there which claim to be Houses of God but who also provide cover for evil accepted by so many in society? Internally, and outside of the opinion and concern of a secular society and media, all religious groups should seek to clear their flocks and return to a protection of purity and righteousness first and without exception. It isn’t only the issue of abortion, rather it includes the sins of divorce, sexual immorality, materialism, and all social ills that stem from what we know as the seven deadly sins. We children of God are not and have never been for the social norms of any era, rather we are the protectors of virtue given by God to all ages.

    I will assert here that George Tiller’s congregation shares the ultimate responsibility for the tragedy that took place before their eyes. They failed to expel George and other like minded souls. The failure to bring spiritual, and non-violent discipline to a man who tried to walk in the world of the righteous and the world of evil led to his violent demise. It is a consequence of spiritual warfare waged above mere mortal men that a congregation failed to respect. Sadly, perhaps only a few members from that congregation will have any spiritual sight left to see such evil and flee from it. I present my accusation to believers and not to those who are merely a member of society at large. Believers in God, justice, and holiness must take this time to reflect and purge themselves of all hint of evil. This is a point I hope does not get lost in this story of George Tiller’s death.

    ps: My apologies for not being better able to express these ideas. I hope that anyone who can more clearly articulate and expand on my point will.

  10. EclecticGuru
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 12:06 am

    If I thought someone was a mass murderer and that local law enforcement (for whatever reason) refused to stop them from continuing their mass murder, I might consider it moral to take things into my own hands.

    Since you believe abortion is murder, RT, do you think people are morally justified in stopping this heinous crime in their own communities using appropriate force?

    I’m not saying killing receptionists or bombing innocents. But, you know, warning doctors that if they don’t stop, you’ll stop them … and when they don’t listen — stop them. Break their hands, take away their livelyhood, and if all else fails … well, you know.

    Is that justified? Or should you just sit back and let innocent unborn children be slaughtered in your own back yard?

    If you saw people shooting innocent children on the street, wouldn’t you do something to stop them? Wouldn’t you consider violence, if no other option was working? How long would you allow the killing of innocent children before you physically stopped it?

    Admit it, you’re glad Tiller the Baby Killer is dead. And you think the person who did it was right to do so.

    If not, then what makes killing fetuses different than killing children?

  11. JoAnna
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 12:59 am

    EG, at the time Tiller wasn’t performing an abortion. He was at church. There was no immediate or imminent danger to anyone, born or unborn.

    Moreover, all legal and peaceful civil options for stopping Tiller had not get been exhausted. He was acting within the law, albeit an immoral law, but there was still recourse to stop him through civil, peaceful means. For example, the state of Kansas was considering revoking his medical license.

    Do you realize that the last time an abortion doctor was killed in the US was over a DECADE ago? Why are you talking like this is a common occurrence, or something that all pro-lifers consider doing on a daily basis? Nothing could be further from the truth.

    It’s like me saying, “Well, the Columbine killers were atheists, and the Virgina Tech shooter was an atheist; ergo, all atheists should be rounded up and shot on the basis that they MIGHT go on a murderous rampage.” I don’t think you would agree with that sentiment (and, for the record, neither do I).

  12. EclecticGuru
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 1:21 am

    JoAnna, put down the crack pipe.

    I never said that shooting abortion doctors is a common occurrence. I just said that, assuming a fetus has the same rights as a child, that it seems justified to me.

    I mean seriously. You think that MAYBE taking away a medical license is “enough”? It’s like someone killing a guy who ran over toddler’s with his car for 500 bucks a pop, and saying “well, the state MIGHT take away his drivers’ license.” Seriously? HE KILLS CHILDREN.

    Don’t you think, in order to stop someone from killing children, that force is justified? I’m not arguing that killing him was right. But maybe kidnapping him and locking him up your basement for the rest of his life (you can treat him as well as you think) would be justified, wouldn’t it?

    And if you didn’t think you could pull that off, if you felt the only thing you could do to stop him would be to shoot him, wouldn’t that be justified?

    If someone were going to kill your babies, wouldn’t you use force to stop them?

    Isn’t this EXACTLY THE SAME situation? Isn’t what this guy did to George Tiller completely justified? Aren’t you RELIEVED that he’s dead and that he won’t be killing any babies?

    If not, then why? Seriously, I want to know the difference.

  13. Ilíon
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 1:33 am

    JoAnna:EG, at the time Tiller wasn’t performing an abortion. He was at church. There was no immediate or imminent danger to anyone, born or unborn.

    And? So what?

    ============
    Jody:ps: My apologies for not being better able to express these ideas. I hope that anyone who can more clearly articulate and expand on my point will.

    I think you did fine … except for “Evil found evil, and justice was thwarted still.

    In truth, it was not justice which was thwarted (for justice will always be served, eventually, unless mercy intercedes), but rather true mercy which was thwarted by the ersatz-mercy of non-judgmentalism in regard to wickedness.

  14. MK
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 6:30 am

    Electric,

    Unfortunately, abortion is legal is this country. We, as Catholics, must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. While we KNOW that these are human beings worthy of protection, 1/2 the country as well as the law books say otherwise.

    NO ONE says it’s okay to kill kindergartners. If we stopped someone from doing so by killing them, we would be acting within the law.

    We understand why this man killed Tiller, yes, because we believe as he does, that killing these babies is as equally evil as killing 5 year olds….but we do NOT condone it, because we also understand that we are beholden to the laws of the country we live in.

    Are we glad that Tiller will not be able to kill any more children? Oh yeah. Are we glad that the reason he won’t kill any more children is because he was murdered? No. Absolutely not.

    If you think this is hard to grasp, consider that we, the Pro Life community have been struggling to understand the same sort of reasoning that comes from your side for years.

    It’s not a baby. It is a baby, but not a person. Babies can be murdered, as long as they are not yet persons. It’s not a person in the womb at 9 months, but if it is delivered up to it’s navel, it is suddenly a person. It is not a person in the womb, but if it undergoes surgery in utero, then it is a person for the few minutes it is out of the womb, but ceases to be a person after it is put back into the womb. It is not a person until such and such a date in gestation. It is a person if it is wanted, it is not a person if it is unwanted. If it is born at 7 months gestation it is a person. If it is unborn at exactly the same time, it is not a person. If it has a defect, it is not a person. If it does not have a defect it is a person. If it is a girl it can be killed because it is not a boy. Corporations can be persons, but unborn children cannot. A fourteen year old cannot carry an aspirin in school, but she CAN carry birth control pills. A fourteen year old cannot get her ears pierced without written permission from her mother, but she CAN have an abortion without her parents knowledge. It is illegal for a fourteen year old to have sex, but legal for her to abort the consequences of the sex she was not allowed to have. If a fertilized egg is a human being, then so is a fingernail, sperm and hair. We’re not pro abortion, we’re pro choice, which is why we only provide abortions but not pregnancy care. I’m personally against abortion, but I can’t speak for others. The right to bodily autonomy is greater than the right to live, even tho if you’re right to live is taken away, bodily autonomy is kind of a moot point. If you’re born alive because the abortion is botched, you can be allowed to die because that was the point of the abortion, even tho technically once you are out of the womb, you are supposed to be considered a person. And on and on and on…

    Honestly, if you want to look at inconsistencies, look to the pro choice arguments.

  15. Lily
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 6:57 am

    By the logic of those on the pro-life side who think Tiller’s murder was a good thing, it is hard to understand why they don’t call for us to descend en masse on all abortion clinics in a coordinated military-style move and take them all out, or, at least, as many as possible before we are gunned down.

    Of course, oops, we are likely to take out a few women and their unborn babies, a few by-standers and some neighbors, too. But that is ok because collateral damage is inevitable and it is ok because we are acting for the greater good.

    Sheesh. I ask the question I have been asking since this news broke. How much blood is enough? How much more must be shed?

  16. EclecticGuru
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 10:46 am

    You expect me to believe that all catholics (and other christians) follow the law as part of their beliefs? No speeding? No fudging on their taxes? No smoking pot or underaged drinking? No taking your spouse’s prescription pain killers when your back is acting up? And by breaking THOSE laws, you’re not actually stopping children from being killed. Surely you’re justified in breaking the law to save THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of innocent children from being ruthlessly murdered.

    Come on now. Why don’t you use force on abortion doctors more often? Is it because some small part of you believes there’s a difference between aborting fetuses and killing children?

    I’m not buying the “its not against the law, and we are eternally bound by the law so help us jesus” argument. I’m sure if your local government passed a law saying you had to be an atheist, you’d still worship jesus. You wouldn’t say “damn, there’s nothing I can do, I have to follow the law.”

    So what’s the real reason you don’t do something? Are you that afraid of jail (or the death penalty)? Or is it something else?

  17. JoAnna
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 10:46 am

    Yeah, what MK and Lily said.

    To add to that, killing Tiller didn’t accomplish much. Another abortionist has already taken over his practice. We don’t know if any babies were saved.

  18. JoAnna
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 10:55 am

    EG, human life is precious. ALL human life. We are commanded not to kill, even to save another, unless there is no other option. That’s not the case, currently. Abortionists are loved and beloved children of God, and our mission is to stop their actions by converting their hearts and working within the current legal system.

    Yes, I try to obey the law. Thankfully, I haven’t yet been put into a position where I’ve had to choose between the law and my conscience.

  19. EclecticGuru
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 11:05 am

    I’m calling bullshit, JoAnna.

    There are abortions being performed as I type this response. What are you doing right now to stop it? Why aren’t you out there right now, forcing your way into the clinic. Why aren’t you blocking clinic doors with your body (peacefully)? Is it because you don’t care about the killing? Or is it too much work for you?

    Assuming that you truly believe that abortion is the same as murder, morally the same, doesn’t that justify all the crazy shit that the “extremists” that you claim don’t typify the pro-life movement do. Extreme things like shooting abortion doctors, intimidating patients and doctors and other employees, and shit like that.

    If I believed that abortion=murder I wouldn’t sit here wasting my time with someone like me. I’d do something about it. DO SOMETHING. Why aren’t you? Is it because you’re lazy? Afraid of jail? Or is it something else?

    Or, if you don’t mind me attributing you with positive traits that you may or may not have, maybe you realize that since about half the country has a different viewpoint, that you MIGHT BE WRONG and that maybe doing all the crazy shit might be the WRONG thing to do. That abortion is NOT the same as murder. That a fetus is NOT the same as an actual child. It’s not likely that you believe that necessarily, but, from the evidence, it seems like you might be open to the possibility.

    Or you could just be a moral coward.

    I still haven’t heard anything that convinces me that there is an option three. But I’m open to the possibility that someone has a rational reason why (other than cowardice or doubt) that they don’t use force to stop baby-killing.

  20. Lily
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

    Eclectic Guru:
    Since you support the current abortion regime, let me ask you how many of us would have to descend on clinics to change the current perception of pro-abortion activists? Right now, people who peacefully pray on the sidewalk outside the clinic (and usually several hundred feet away) are considered, at a minimum, women haters and, far too often, terrorists. The law has already been badly misused to make RICO apply to peaceful protesters. How many minds would be changed if 25 of us used our bodies as barricades? How about 50? Would we then be seen to have the moral high ground? To be on the side of the angels? Of course, there are those who actually do this, at least on occasion. How many minds have been changed?

    We also recognize developmental differences between a blastocyte, a fetus, and a Tiller. This appears to be more than you do. I don’t know if most us normally use the word murder when speaking of abortion. We more typically speak of the killing of innocent human life. Considering that protesters are routinely roughed up by cops and pro-abort activists and are routinely arrested, I think you might want to rethink your accusations of cowardice.

    We want to change hearts, as much as we want to change the law. Violence doesn’t help. How much more blood must be shed, Eclectic Guru? How much?

  21. EclecticGuru
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

    Oh ok. So you think killing fetuses is less bad than killing real people. That explains it.

    Well, as long as its a matter of “shades of gray” then I guess violence isn’t justified. But by admitting that a fetus is less worth fighting for than a baby, you are opening up the whole “where do you draw the line” argument that is used against people who are pro-choice.

    You do realize that many catholics think that masturbation is immoral too.

    Do you think that masturbation should be illegal? Where exactly in the shade of gray do you draw the line between “human life” and “ok to shoot out into a crusty sock without societal intervention”? Is it conception? The “quickening”? Birth? Are you going to try to make it illegal for me to masturbate, and if not, why not?

  22. JoAnna
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 12:40 pm

    Put down the crack pipe, EG.

    Storming clinics and etc. isn’t morally justifiable given the loss of life it would cause, nor logistically possible given the numbers of clinics and the numbers of pro-lifers. Add to that what I said before: we have a responsibility to exhaust all other available peaceful options FIRST. We have not yet done so.

    Also, I have an obligation to my family. I have two young children (ages 4 and 1). I cannot, in good conscience, leave my children motherless unless there is no other option. Right now, there are other options.

    Right now, I fight to change hearts via discussion, education, and prayer. I donate to CPCs when I can. I write to my legistators and attend peaceful protests.

    Perhaps you believe that MLK Jr. et al were moral cowards for not shooting at their oppressors. I prefer to follow their example.

  23. EclecticGuru
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

    According to a recent poll, 56% of americans believe abortion is morally wrong. Are you trying to tell me that 56% of americans aren’t enough to make a dent in the “number of clinics”?

    And let me tell you from personal experience, 99.999999% of pro-choicers aren’t going to take up arms to protect those clinics. you could literally block every clinic with your bodies, and there’s not enough police or military to do anything to stop you, even if they wanted to. 56%! What’s your excuse?

    Violence wouldn’t even be necessary. No one is going to mess with 56% of Americans.

    But for some reason, 56% of Americans don’t think baby-killing is quite morally wrong enough to, you know, go sit in front of a building. They’d rather just write posts on goofy blogs, saying how wrong they think abortion is, but not actually lifting a single finger to stop it.

    This is understandable if, as Lily, you believe that abortion is not the same as baby killing. That there is a DIFFERENCE between a fetus and a child. That the “unborn” aren’t quite as worth fighting for as those of us who have been born.

    Otherwise, you’re either a coward, or just plain lazy. At least the guy who killed Tiller was fighting for his beliefs. Go peacefully protest out in front of a clinic, don’t waste your time on the internet. Go sit in front of a door and don’t move until the police move you. That’s the kind of shit that MLK was talking about. Not writing blogs.

    Lameness. Go do something. Seriously, if its what you believe, do something about it. Otherwise, why should I listen to you, since it seems to me, you believe the same thing I do. That its not baby killing. You just want to impose your “christian morals” on me by trying to convince me that it is. But by your actions, its clear that there’s a difference.

    Stop trying to impose your lifestyle and beliefs on other people through the law. Stop being a coward. Stop trying to impose a tyranny of the masses. Stop, just stop. Put your money where your mouth is. If its baby killing, then STOP IT. You have no excuse not to. Its morally reprehensible for you to sit back and try to “win my heart” when people out there are killing babies right now.

  24. JoAnna
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

    Wait a sec, I should stop being tyrannical by bombing abortion clinics? How does that work, exactly?

    I should stop imposing my beliefs on others by killing those who disagree with me? Huh?

    The survey you mention said 56% of people identify as pro-life. That doesn’t mean 56% of people think that abortion is always wrong no matter what, or think that abortion should be illegal. There are a lot of people who identify as pro-life but who are in the “personally opposed, but…” camp.

    But really, EG, read my post again. As Ghandi said, “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” Any sort of armed resistance against abortion must first be preceded by the exhaustion of all other possible peaceful alternatives. We’re not yet at that point.

    But, hey, if you want to keep egging pro-lifers to commit violence, I’m more than willing to send your posts to Homeland Security.

  25. Lily
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

    EG– I know you think it is cool to talk about masturbation but it is teenaged silliness to most of us. I suppose it is possible that you think you are the first to bring it up but testosterone-fueled vulgarity is something we are long since bored with. (You might want to borrow a biology text book. Semen is not human life.)

    This is wrong:

    This is understandable if, as Lily, you believe that abortion is not the same as baby killing. That there is a DIFFERENCE between a fetus and a child. That the “unborn” aren’t quite as worth fighting for as those of us who have been born.

    The unborn are as worth fighting for as the born and that is what we are doing. Developmental differences have nothing to do with the immorality of abortion.

    But I will say this. You have convinced me. I don’t want to but I am going to go buy a gun or two and do my duty to stop the baby killing. I thought too much blood had been shed already but you have convinced me that I am wrong. Sure bad people will say that I am trying to impose my values on everyone but I say that Eclectic Guru is right!!! And all people will change their minds because I am gunning down abortionists!

    Just one problem though. If it will work to change the law and people’s minds when I do it, why didn’t it work when Tiller’s murderer did it?

    At least the guy who killed Tiller was fighting for his beliefs

    Yes indeed. He and Tiller were kindred spirits. The murderer wasn’t prolife either

    Go peacefully protest out in front of a clinic, don’t waste your time on the internet. Go sit in front of a door and don’t move until the police move you. That’s the kind of shit that MLK was talking about. Not writing blogs.

    Oh wait! Whew!! Now I don’t have to buy a gun– which would have been tough because I don’t know where to buy one in my home town. But that’s no longer a problem. I sure dodged a bullet, if you will pardon the pun.

    Now we are talking about sitting peacefully and letting the police move us. Never mind that we’ve been there and done that. The fact that there are other ways to fight abortion isn’t on your radar screen, is it, EG? Heck, even MLK got up to use the toilet and go to the movies once in a while.

    EG– you are talking like someone who hasn’t thought seriously about this or any other political or cultural matter. That isn’t a crime but you have some work to do. Just on this blog alone there are plenty of excellent discussions of the issues. Why not peruse them and see what you learn?

  26. EclecticGuru
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

    Crack pipe again, JoAnna, you really are a crazy bitch.

    If you believe that abortion is murder, then wouldn’t you be justified in using force to stop it? If you are against killing, there are levels of force that don’t involve death. There are even levels of force that most people don’t consider violence. Like “sit ins”. You could fucking chain yourself to the entrance. Or just sit there blocking the way.

    Or you could picket lawfully even (though that’s weaksauce. Can you imagine people “picketing” the concentration camps in germany?). Instead, you think that the best way to “win hearts” is to threaten to report people to Homeland Security for making complete valid and rational philosophical arguments.

    Way to go, nutbag.

  27. EclecticGuru
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

    Masturbation is not “childish”, its something that most people do, but I can understand why a Christian might be embarassed to talk about it like an adult. I take my penis in my hand, and stroke and stimulate it until I achieve an orgasm. The resulting semen often ends up in a tissue, or a sock, or other temporary receptacle until it is thrown away or washed out.

    It’s fun, and it feels good. And I’ve been doing it since I was 12.

    Sperm is part of the reproductive cycle. It is “life” and it is “reproductive life”. It is not alien. It is not dead. It is not “inhuman”. It is “Human Life”. And it is absolutely necessary for the reproduction of human life. It is part of the whole process that creates “people” in the same way as that little blob of cells that latches inside a womb is. It’s probably “less valuable” than a fetus or blastocyst, in that its less developed, and certainly less “like a grown person”. But its still alive, and its still human, and each sperm has the potential to create a new “soul”.

    You draw the line somewhere (conception probably, I don’t know for sure). Someone else draws the line somewhere else. We need to compromise on where we feel its appropriate for the state to step in and protect the “new person.” From what you said (semen isn’t human life), you clearly don’t think it should be there. But you do understand that there are people out there who disagree with you.

    Just like you disagree with me.

  28. Lily
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 2:08 pm

    I guess this will come as a revelation to you but semen will never develop into a human being on its own, ever. I have no doubt that you been masturbating since you were 12 but in the year and a half since then, have you been surprised by any babies in your laundry basket?

    EG you have gone far past legitimate discussion and have become insulting and tiresome. Calling anyone names is unnecessary and your insults simply fall on one end of the very same continuum that led to Tiller’s murder. Is that where you want to be?

    I don’t know if anyone else will bother with you. I know I have had enough.

  29. JoAnna (aka Crazy Bitch)
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

    EG,

    If crazy bitch = someone who abhors killing unless there is absolutely no alternative, then I’ll wear that moniker with pride.

    The abortion holocaust is not yet equal to the Jewish holocaust in terms of peaceful resistance. So far, pro-lifers can still legally protest, vote, and exercise other civil rights without fear that our families will be shipped to concentration camps or killed. If Obama ever declares himself dictator and starts implementing such measures, then I’ll join the Maquis. Until then, I contend that peaceful, non-violent measures are the best way to fight the evil of abortion.

  30. EclecticGuru
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 2:19 pm

    I’m not the one that is trying to convince people that abortion is murder, Lily. It’s people who say that, that justify extremism of the sort that killed Tiller.

    It’s not a black and white issue. Its not “I’m right and you’re wrong, and there’s no compromise.” I can see that its an arbitrary line being drawn between what is human life and what isn’t. I’m willing to negotiate with people like you to find some happy middleground that we can all live with.

    It’s clear that you can live with things the way they are … you’re not advocating violence or even non-violent force to stop the “baby killing.” That’s good, Lily. Very good.

    You’ll get a lot further with your “winning hearts” thing if you open your mind a little and stop thinking that people who don’t see things the way you do are evil. Negotiate. Compromise. Listen to arguments, and stop judging based on what you think God wants (which eliminates the possibility of compromise).

    God only wants what you, and your religious leaders, put into his mouth. Talk about what you think, what you feel, and what you want. Then we can get somewhere.

  31. Lily
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

    EG, you aren’t getting my position at all. Abortion is evil. It is the deliberate termination of human life– an innocent human life, at that. Killing Tiller was evil. It was the deliberate termination of human life. Killing Terri Schiavo was evil. It was the deliberate termination of human life. Pulling the plug on the ill, the senile or demented elderly, as an official in Britain has advocated in public, is evil.

    At the moment of conception a human life comes into being. You don’t have to take my word for it. You can consult any 1st year medical text book. It doesn’t matter that a blastocyte is not a fetus, is not a toddler, is not a teenager, is not an adult. It is a human life. It is not “pre-human”. Nothing will be added to it along the way to make it, suddenly, human. It is all there at the moment of conception and needs only to be left alone to develop naturally.

    Some of us may not be willing to compromise. Abortion is a grave evil. But I realize, as a citizen, that the best we might be able to achieve politically in the near futre is making abortion after the 1st trimester illegal. Most normal people are sickened by the idea of some one sucking the brains out of a baby who could survive outside the womb quite easily, if delivered then and there. While 1st trimester abortions are not morally acceptable, such a prohibition would cut down on the number of abortions being performed and would be a reasonable first step politically.

    By the way. It is not just religious people who are prolife. Nat Hentoff, an atheist, is prolife. Our own RT used to be the Raving Atheist. But he was as prolife then as he is now. What do they understand that other atheists don’t, I wonder.

  32. EclecticGuru
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

    Why is it evil?

  33. MK
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

    Lily,

    I guess this will come as a revelation to you but semen will never develop into a human being on its own, ever. I have no doubt that you been masturbating since you were 12 but in the year and a half since then, have you been surprised by any babies in your laundry basket?

    I love you.

  34. MK
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 6:19 pm

    Electric,

    First we have to determine if you believe that anything is evil. If you do, then we can begin to discuss why abortion is evil…is intrinsically evil.

    So tell me, do you believe in evil? If so, what in your mind is objectively evil. While you’re at it, what is objectively good?

    As to your other posts…if we are as we claim to be, pro life, then we can’t very well go around condoning murder. Again, we work within the law. Do Catholics break laws? Of course. Is it right that they do? Of course not. But we believe that there levels of evil. Just as the law does. Robbing a gas station is wrong. Robbing it at gun point is more wrong. Killing your lover in a fit of passion because you caught them cheating? Wrong. Planning the murder, taking your time, covering it up…more wrong. Killing a man that is responsible for the death of 60,000 children? Wrong. Killing 60,000 children? More wrong. Not all evils are equal. It doesn’t get much worse than abortion. But the solution to evil is not a different evil.

    If we believed that killing one abortion doctor would put an end to abortion forever, we might weigh the good against the more good, but as that is not the case, killing abortion doctors is wrong.

    Do you believe in right and wrong? It’s an honest question. I have talked to a lot of people here and on other sites that do not believe that there is any such thing as objective bad or objective good. Are you one of them?

  35. EclecticGuru
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

    I follow the philosophy of rational humanistic utilitarianism, sort of like what John Stuart Mills defined. It is the most universal, rational, and ethical of philosophies that I’ve come across.

    I put a large focus on “establishing sympathy” as providing the most happiness in a society.

    There is, by the way, a very strong argument against abortion, as it can be said that it devalues “Human Life” and thus decreases the amount of sympathy we have for one another. However, to say that it is “evil” is very over simplified, and defining things simplistically as “good” and “evil” is definitely far more sympathy-ruining than abortion ever could be.

    However, I do believe in that choices can be objective “good” and “bad.” For instance, calling abortion “evil” is probably a bad description. Saying that it is “ethically questionable” would be a good one. The first, evil, is drawing battle lines. You are inflexible. Unwilling to empathize with those who disagree with you. The second is disagreeing in a way that indicates that you are open to debate on the subject, and that you don’t think that anyone who disagrees with you is a monster.

    When we start thinking that other people are “evil” or “monstrous” or whatever, we become less sympathetic toward them. And the less sympathy a society has for its members, the less it is inclined to inherently seek for a “greater happiness” of members, and the more selfish it becomes.

    So yes, I believe in right and wrong. However, I wouldn’t say that I believe in “evil.”

  36. EclecticGuru
    June 2nd, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

    I’d also like to note that I’ve suggested countless non-violent methods of stopping abortions from taking place. Its called civil disobedience. I have trouble believing in your convictions that abortion is “murder” if you’re not willing to spend some time in jail for trespassing or disorderly behavior or whatever.

    It seems clear to me that you know there is a difference. And that’s a good thing. I’m not begrudging you the fact, I’m glad for it in fact.

    I’m glad that even if you are talking crazy, you’re not acting crazy.

  37. Lily
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 6:43 am

    You have not suggested “countless” non-violent methods of stopping abortions. You have alluded to what? Two? Of the really non-violent, prolifers have done them all. What we have not done is descend en masse on most abortion clinics for a variety of reasons– some of which mk has alluded to. The fact that you don’t know that countless protestors have been arrested for trespassing, for praying on the sidewalks outside clinics, etc. does nothing to change that. The fact that not every pro-life person is able or willing to take part in protests is completely irrelevant.

    You might know more if the press ever covered what goes on but they don’t. You don’t have a clue, as I said above how many protestors have been arrested, harassed, beaten up, etc. I think you will need to inform yourself better, as to what pro-lifers actually do, if you want to offer advice on strategy.

  38. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 8:28 am

    Put up, or shut up, Lily.

    If you’re going to talk the talk, then you better walk the walk.

    In the meantime, you’ll have to suck up the fact that this “lone psychopath” that killed the doctor is just acting in the paradigm that you’ve created, but don’t entirely buy into. You’re not only responsible for the death of Tiller, but for whatever punishment your foot soldier, Scott Roeder, faces as a consequence.

    I don’t know what sort of fantasy world you seem to think we live in, but in the real world, people stand up for injustice and fight to protect the weak and defenseless. My grandfathers shed blood for our country in WWI and WWII, my uncle in Korea, my father in Vietnam. They fought because they believed their cause to be just. They didn’t just write letters to the editor of their local newspaper saying how horrible the nazis, or the communists were. They fought. That’s what people do when faced with real world injustice and tyranny. That’s how the real world works.

    You made this boogeyman out of Tiller, and all abortion doctors. Don’t go complaining that you didn’t support his death. Don’t decry the knight that slays the monster you created with your vicious words and your irrational immature “paint by numbers” morality. You, Lily, and the Raving Theist, and the rest of you jerks are responsible for what happened by all this talk about “evil” and “monsters” and “murder”.

    If you really believed that abortion is murder, then you’d be happy someone avenged those 60,000 babies, OT style. Just like I’m proud that my grandfather was a hero and went after Hitler and his cronies, guns blazing.

    The fact is, its clear you don’t really believe what you are saying. Its not the same as murder, its not a holocaust, its just not. And you know it. But the words you use, the venom that you spew, created this paradigm where people like Scott Roeder are championing YOUR CAUSE the way that people in the real world do.

  39. Lily
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 9:49 am

    Utter rubbish. You can hold your breath and spew idiocies until you are blue in the face; it doesn’t change anything.

    Paul Hill killed an abortionist. He got the electric chair. No one asked for clemency for him on the grounds that he did the right thing killing an abortionist. Eric Rudolph is sitting in prison and will stay there for bombing clinics. Where are the prolifers demanding clemency on the grounds that he was saving babies?

    It is hard to come up with more examples because there have been so few murdered abortionists and so little actual violence. Our record is cleaner than most. Can the usual lefty nuts make the same claim? How about Earth First or the Animal Liberation Front? How about the Unibomber? All he had in his little cabin was Al Gore’s manifesto. Is Gore responsible for the Unibomber’s murders?

    Honestly, instead of parroting CNN talking points, how about dealing with reality? *Thoughtfully*.

  40. some random guy
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 10:07 am

    But the words you use, the venom that you spew, created this paradigm where people like Scott Roeder are championing YOUR CAUSE the way that people in the real world do.

    Dude, you’re rude and completely out of line, as you’ve been for the majority of the posts you’ve written above.

    You speak of venom spewed by Lily and the pro-life movement, but as far as I can see, there’s been no end to the frothing geyser of expletives streaming from your keyboard.

    You speak of justice, but you lack the honor and respect that justice requires. Honestly, between each of your non-sequiturial “responses”, there’s at least a mile of bile the reader has to slog through just to give you a charitable reading. Not only is your argument insane (we’ll get to that in a minute), but you use language and rhetoric that’d make a sailor blush. That is not honor or justice, it’s bravado and immaturity. To be frank, if I ever ran into you in public talking like you have here, I’d be sorely tempted to feed you your teeth.

    Anyway, as I said before, your argument is insane. One of the central premises of the Pro-Life movement is that human life has an intrinsic, inalienable dignity. In other words, each individual has a right to be treated lovingly, a right that can never be taken away. As murder is a clear affront to this dignity, we as Christians and as Pro-life activists can never murder, as it cuts against the pillar of our movement.

    So you say: Tiller is wrong and murdering babies. If the pro-lifers mean what they say, they should go kill Tiller and other butchers like him.

    Wrong. We’re against all murder. Vigilante justice, as seen in this case, is murder. Tiller was not tried, sentenced or given any chance for defense. There was no justice in this murder. There is no justice in any murder. Why would the pro-life movement decry murder in the case of children and support it for adults?

    Now you seem fixated on Wars and Nazis. Well, surely you can see that there’s a difference between A) Tiller’s murder, B) the Death Penalty executed by a court and C) WWII. While there are MANY differences which ruin the second part of your argument, the difference between killing and murder is key. A man justly tried and convicted of a crime by a jury of his peers is not murdered, as the defendant has an opportunity to present his case fairly and defend himself. Just as in WWII, the two opposing armies were committed to the struggle and death if necessary. In the case of Tiller, he was denied any sort of appeal or dignified defense. What’s more, in both of the latter cases, not only is murder not committed, but the actions were taken by collectives, not an individual.

    So, right off the bat your argument fails because you can’t make distinctions. But that’s ignoring the fact that it’s already failed because A) the action you suggest on the part of Pro-lifers would violate their own ethical code and thus render their point moot and B) Your argument relies on an insane view of justice.

    Under your premise, unless each and every citizen is actively patroling the streets each day to prevent homicide/burglary/rape etc…, then they can’t possibly oppose it. That’s ridiculous. I can safely say that I think stealing is wrong without joining the police force. I can attempt to provide laws against certain behaviors without constantly policing for them. It’s called civilized society. And what’s paramount: I’m never so arrogant as to take the law entirely into my own hands and murder someone just because I might “feel they deserve it”…

    Your argument lacks sanity and tact. Revise it.

    Scott Roeder, if he’s guilty, is championing YOUR cause of vigilante “justice”. Not our cause of dignity and rational attempts to better civilization.

  41. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 10:08 am

    You’re right. You’re less nutty than “Earth First” and “the Unibomber.”

    Congratulations.

    I don’t know why you thought that would be particularly complementary a comparison. That’s like saying you’re the smartest girl on the short bus.

    At least you realize that your religious cult is comparable to those other nutty organizations, perhaps there’s hope for you after all.

  42. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 10:33 am

    Random guy:

    Thanks for threatening to feed me my teeth. Your commitment to non-violence, politeness, and tact is touching.

    Or to be more to the point: Go fuck yourself.

    As to the rest of your more lucid rebuttal, whether or not I lack honor has nothing to do with your behavior, or the behavior of your religious pro life movement. You can’t defend yourself by attacking me.

    I never said that pro-lifers should kill abortionists if they believe what they say. I said it would be understandable if they did.

    What I did say, to reiterate, was that they should do SOMETHING to stop the killing of babies, if that’s what they think is going on. Something more than just complaining on blogs. An injustice on the level of “mass baby murder” would seem to inspire more of a response than “let’s try to pass a law eventually.” But I’m suspecting that I may value life and innocence more than you do.

    I never advocated vigilante justice, I advocated civil disobedience. There’s a difference. I did, however, empathize with the vigilante. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

    It seems to me, and I could be wrong, but your efforts to delineate a material difference between individual killing and “group sponsored” killing shows signs of some sort of cognitive dissonance. The fact is, all killing is an individual choice. And your very own argument for why killing some sixteen year old kid who is just defending his homeland from aggression in war is morally superior to killing to protect babies rings a little hollow to me.

    I personally believe that the STATE has less of a right to kill people than individuals do. I’d rather have a jury find innocent a father who shot the asshole who raped his daughter, than to have that same rapist asshole tried and put to death. The power over life and death is a little too important to trust to the state. But that’s neither here nor there. Sufficed to say, not everyone in this great democracy of ours believes the way you do, nor do we appreciate your simplistic black and white way of viewing things.

    You said this: “Under your premise, unless each and every citizen is actively patroling the streets each day to prevent homicide/burglary/rape etc…, then they can’t possibly oppose it.” That’s a strawman argument. I will reword according to my actual premise. “Under my premise, unless each and every citizen takes appropriate action to prevent any wrongdoing or injustice of which they are aware, then their convictions are questionable.” For crying out loud, if you knew that there was a “baby murder club” that took place in your town square from the hours of 9 and 5 every week day, I bet you’d do more than just call it evil on the internet or try to “win hearts” against it. Seriously, in my town, there’d be no shortage of people shutting that shit down. I don’t know how your town works.

    Even if you wouldn’t do more to stop it, you have to understand why other people would, don’t you?

    You wouldn’t be surprised if someone showed up at the “Baby Murder Club” and fed some people their teeth?

    Oh, I bet you understand that real well.

  43. Lily
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 11:04 am

    Some Random Guy (where have you been hiding?), there is no point in trying to engage EG. I have learned that there are a substantial number of people on the Internet who deliberately twist your words and misstate your arguments just for the plain fun of it. There is not dealing with them. EG, despite the many reasonable and careful responses he has received, chooses to ignore them and go his own way. So be it.

    I shall repeat what I said several times previously, in the hope that it sinks in.

    We are prolife. We are consistently prolife. We do not take anyone’s life for any reason, except in self-defense or the defense of others, when there is no other possible defense.

    Tiller was not prolife. Scott Roeder is not prolife. Tiller and Roeder met up and Roeder acted on his “pro choice” impulses. They both claim(ed) to have a higher purpose, a good goal that justifies their acts in mind. They are both wrong.

  44. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 11:19 am

    Lily, I never meant to argue that you weren’t pro-life. I’m sorry if my argument came across that way.

    I just don’t think you believe that abortion = baby murder. You should probably make that clear, since, if you actually convinced people who weren’t as committed to non violence as yourself, they might do something you don’t approve of — like Scott Roeder did.

    Random Guy already threatened to knock my teeth in for being rude. I can’t imagine what people like him would be capable of if they thought I was about to kill babies.

  45. Lily
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 11:34 am

    Thank you, EG.

    I have stated and I think, but I could be wrong, that most pro-lifers would agree with me that the issue is not one of babies being murdered. The issue is that human life is being terminated which has a whole lot of far reaching consequences. The developmental stage of that human life is completely irrelevant.

    Murder is a legal category that, so far as I know, is not relevant here. Morally, I understand why people might use the term but I don’t know that it is particularly helpful.

  46. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 11:57 am

    “The developmental stage of that human life is completely irrelevant.”

    It is relevant. That’s the whole point of the ‘childish’ masturbation talk earlier. Human life is an unbroken cycle between one generation and the next. My life, my wife’s life, my son’s life. It is arbitrary (though understandably so) to say it begins at fertilization. My sperm, and my wife’s egg, were both alive, and human. And it is from those cells that came our son. Just as he came from the zygote, the embryo, the fetus, the baby, the toddler, the child, and the adolescent.

    I know where you’re coming from, and trust me, I understand and empathize. But it really is clear to me that fertilization is an arbitrary ‘starting point’ to human life. It’s just a little more black and white, and thus more comfortable for people who are used to dealing with absolutes like most religious people such as yourself, than saying after the “first trimester” or “the beginning of the fetal stage”.

    I know you must, on some level, understand this because you appear to have been unwilling to accept that sperm have human rights. Just as other people don’t believe that embryos or fetuses have human rights.

    I want to make this clear. I’m not making value judgements on who is right or wrong. It is, to me, obviously arbitrary. What is right, in a case like this, is what is best for everyone. The way to make an anti-abortion argument to someone like me is to not tell me that its baby murder, but rather that its human life, and its more important than sperm because (insert argument) and that by terminating it at this stage of development, it is causing people more harm than good because (insert argument).

    It’s obviously causing a lot of harm because so many people are upset by it. Making people upset is a bad thing, which, by my rudeness and vulgarness you might be surprised that I actually believe that. But I talk straight because I believe that a straight and passionate argument, logic and rhetoric, is the most effective method of discourse.

    I’m really offended by religious people’s tendency to paint things as “evil” or “monstrous” when they obviously are just differences of opinion. It is a deficiency in empathy and a lack of sympathy that is harmful to our coexistence. To make an unflattering (and it will seem unfair to you) comparison, the religious pro-life movement’s denouncement of Scott Tiller sounds to me the same as the Muslim community’s denouncement of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

    You can claim that your religion is all about peace and non-violence and love for life. But I’ve walked the walk. I’ve read the books. I’ve been in those shoes.

    But the truth is, people who don’t share your beliefs aren’t “evil”. It is possible to make your pro-life argument rationally. It is a very strong argument. But in order to do so, you need to drop the “evil” and “sin” and “god” crap or nobody like me is going to listen.

    But people like Scott Roeder will still hear you. If they were worried about reason, they wouldn’t think that murdering doctors for doing their job is justified.

  47. some random guy
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

    Or to be more to the point: Go fuck yourself.

    Apparently, you’re not worth my time after all.

    Lily,

    I agree wholeheartedly with about 99% of what you said. However I’m not so sure that when I use murder, I’m using it in the most restricted legal sense. I do think there is a difference w.r.t. culpability, intent etc. when it comes to vigilante homicide as discussed by the vulgar “eclectic” above and the soldier who kills men in battle out of defense for his country. I’m no moral theologian, so I’m willing to concede ground on my terminology, yet I do think the “material” of the two situations is different. So while both are killing a human life, (which I by no means take lightly and I’m not really looking to weasel around or justify here) I think that the moral circumstances merit something of a distinction, if not legal then I don’t know what.

    I’d be curious to hear what you have to say on the matter…

  48. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

    “Apparently, you’re not worth my time after all.”

    Phew, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about the beat down anymore!

  49. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

    Oh, and if you think I’m vulgar, you should read some of the shit that St. Thomas More wrote in his polemics. Seriously!

    Of course, if you’re not a catholic, that probably won’t impress you. But if you are, keep in mind that he’s a saint now.

  50. Jonathan
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

    My life, my wife’s life, my son’s life. It is arbitrary (though understandably so) to say it begins at fertilization. My sperm, and my wife’s egg, were both alive, and human.

    Sperm left in its natural state (in the testicles) will never result in a baby. A fertilized egg left in its natural state (inside a woman who is doing the things necessary to keep herself alive) will very likely result in a baby who takes a breath of air.

    The starting point of life seems non-arbitrary to me.

  51. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

    Jonathan,

    That’s a fine and rational argument.

    It could also be argued that the natural state of sperm is to be ejaculated inside a woman. For various biological reasons. Or, if you’re a bible fan, by way of the Lord’s “fruitful and multiply” order.

    Which is rational as well, don’t you think?

    And of course, sperm, when appropriately used (in the way the Lord, or nature, intended) results in children. That’s where we all come from, after all.

  52. Lily
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

    EG– honestly, the things you come up with! You remind me of a woman who told me seriously, not so long ago, that to be consistently prolife I would have to stop brushing my hair or shaving my legs, since the genetic matter I was throwing away or washing down the drain could be used to create a new human being. Needless-to-say, I was stunned and so I now resemble Big Foot.

    It simply doesn’t make the slightest sense to me to refuse to draw lines where nature draws them. So I told you, and Jonathan has too, that sperm will never produce a child unless united with an egg. Your “natural state of sperm is to be ejaculated inside a woman” sounds like the kind of thing the young men I used to wrestle with on Saturday nights would say. I mean, seriously dude, that is not an argument and sounds more like an excuse to say the word sperm in public.

    Some Random Guy– I am no lawyer and no moral theologian so anything I say about murder must be seen as random musings. I am not even up to that level I will write a little more on the matter when I have thought the issue over. Maybe, in the meantime, mk or one of the others who have dealt with these questions might weigh in.

  53. Jonathan
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

    It could also be argued that the natural state of sperm is to be ejaculated inside a woman. For various biological reasons. Or, if you’re a bible fan, by way of the Lord’s “fruitful and multiply” order.

    Which is rational as well, don’t you think?

    No I don’t. You’re confusing “natural state” with “possible future state”. And the future state requires action by two people for that state to occur.

    The fertilized egg (usually) requires no further external action to become a breathing baby. The woman only needs to follow her own instinct for survival for the egg to be transformed into a birthed baby.

  54. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

    I understand your argument.

    But its based on assumptions.

    Why is it important that the human life you treasure require no external action for it to continue?

    You’re against removing people from external life support yes? Even when, if left on its own, the life would end.

    Most pro-lifers would disagree. Human life is precious, precious enough to go out of your way to maintain, precious even if it would end without life support.

    And yes, I know there’s a difference between the development of a sperm and a human on life support. But human life, regardless of its state of development, is equally precious. Or at least, someone might believe that.

  55. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

    I might add, the arbitrary requirement “must not require external work to continue to develop into a fully grown human” is notably, at least to me, similar to the abortionist argument “must be able to survive on its own outside the womb.”

  56. MT
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

    Eclectic Guru-

    So what exactly is your argument?

  57. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

    “So what exactly is your argument?”

    1) The religious pro-lifer’s typical lack of empathy of those who disagree with them is a result of religious “black and white” thinking.

    2) That black and white thinking causes them to want to “draw a line” where human life begins, when in fact, such a line is arbitrary since human life is an unbroken chain from father (and mother) to son (and daughter).

    3) Other people tend to either draw a line in a place where the pro-lifer doesn’t like (at sperm, or at the beginning of the fetal stage, at quickening, or at birth, etc), or understand that this is not a black and white issue and that it is a more complicated issue.

    4) The lack of empathy on the part of black-and-white religious thinking results in the portrayal of other people’s viewpoints as “stupid” (in the case of drawing the line at sperm, or not drawing a line at all) or “evil” (in the case of drawing the line anywhere beyond fertilization).

    5) The mainstream treatment of religious belief in our society results in claims of “evilness” given more serious consideration than it should.

    6) A violence-prone sociopath, drawn like a moth to the religious flame, but unable to fully grasp the entirety of the “pro-life” philosophy — perhaps because its not entirely rational, or perhaps on some failing of his own — takes it upon himself to channel his frustration and violent urges at an “evil monster”.

    7) People get hurt.

    My hypothesis is:

    If the pro-life movement shed its reliance on religious philosophy and terminology to make its arguments, but instead at least took on the appearance of being open-minded and rational, and if it stopped demonizing those who disagreed with the movement, people would be better off.

    A) The pro-life movement would have better luck convincing people like myself that changes to the law (or the interpretation of the law) are needed.

    B) People like Scott Roeder would be less likely to be provoked into violence, setting back the pro-life movement in the eyes of the public.

    C) People involved in the pro-life movement might find, through emulation of empathy, that they actual find virtue and kindness in many of those that they used to think were “evil.” And in so doing, they might find themselves growing closer to what they understand as godliness.

  58. Lily
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

    How wrong are you, EG? Let me count the ways:

    1. Mere assertion. What is your evidence that “religious” pro-lifers” typically lack of empathy with those who disagree with them? What is your argument that “black and white” thinking is wrong on moral matters?

    2-3. That black and white thinking causes them to want to “draw a line” where human life begins, when in fact, such a line is arbitrary since human life is an unbroken chain from father (and mother) to son (and daughter).

    No one agrees with this. Not doctors (see first year medical text books), not human beings schooled in basic biology. Those who know the basic biological facts try to get around them by quibbling over things like “personhood.” They don’t usually try to claim that human life starts anywhere but at conception, but, rather, they will typically turn themselves into pretzels to avoid admitting it. Of course, imaginative people do find lines of argument that simply leave me slack-jawed, like my friend and her argument about the evil inherent in brushing my hair. Your appeal to a sort of human great chain of being has no relevance to the argument.

    4. Irrelevant. You haven’t demonstrated a lack of empathy and the rest just doesn’t hold. MK asked if you believed that anything is evil. You haven’t responded, I don’t believe. Until you argue persuasively that evil doesn’t exist or else that it does but abortion isn’t evil, that part of your response is a non-starter. As for “stupid”, well if one has been repeatedly shown that one is wrong on some matter or other, stupidity is one possible conclusion to draw for the failure to learn. There are others but none of them are pretty.

    5. Oy veh! The notion of “evilness” or of right and wrong are the basis of all our laws. Try again. It isn’t possible to give them too much consideration.

    6. Sociopaths need no encouragement of any kind. Try again.

    7. “People get hurt”. No kidding? People are hurt every day for a variety of reasons. I would like to mitigate harm women. One good way to achieve that is to put abortionists out of business. Or are you not concerned with the women who have been killed by abortionists? There are far more of them than there are of murdered abortionists.

    The rest is well meant, I know. But it doesn’t correspond to reality. We think Tiller is a monster. Even so, his right to life is as absolute as everyone else’s. We do not think the majority of pro-choicers are evil. Again, your lack of knowledge of what we actually believe is hampering your wish to come up with persuasive arguments to change our pro-life strategy.

  59. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 7:31 pm

    “How wrong are you, EG? Let me count the ways:”

    You’re being flippant with me.

    1) I’ve made my argument already. The fact that you don’t even realize there’s an argument shows a lack of empathy and intellectual inflexibility on my part, proving my point.

    2-3) Sure people agree. It’s common sense. Also, find any biology book and read the section of the biological life cycle.

    4) Yes relevant. See 1 above for evidence of your lack of empathy. As for my answer about “evil” I already did that. Scroll up and you can read about my personal philosphy if you find it necessary to continue this conversation. The part about rational humanistic utilitarianism. Also, keep in mind by your very own argument here, that to my point of view, you are the stupid one. But at least I have empathy for your position. So you are stupid *and* borderline sociopathic.

    5) Wrong, our laws are not based on *your* conceptions of what is evil, nor are they based on your bible’s dictates — as much as you probably wish they aren’t. For instance, I’m allowed to worship graven images, and to take other gods before yours. I’m also allowed to covet my neighbor’s wife and mule and all sorts of other things. Furthermore, I’m allowed to sin in all sorts of ways. Impure thoughts are certainly allowed. Children aren’t stoned for being disobedient to their parents. Gay marriage is legal. All sorts of crazy stuff going on here in our laws that don’t fit YOUR morality. Also, your exclamation of “oy veh” is demeaning. Stop it.

    6) Just because you say they don’t, doesn’t make it so.

    7) I’m concerned about everyone. Abortionists, babies, fetuses, embryos, children, fathers, mothers, pro-lifers, serial killers, terrorists, vigilantes, soldiers, police, doctors, and bloggers all included. Even “stupid sociopaths.”

    You can think whatever you want. But keep in mind that by calling someone an evil baby killing monster, and not taking personal responsibility to put that monster out of business, you are leaving the door open for other people to do your job for you.

    Like Scott Roeder.

    You are personally responsible. You, RT, and all you other muddle-headed closed-minded borderline sociopathic religious fanatics (just talking straight here, I still think you’re probably all good people otherwise).

    What bothers you is that I do understand your beliefs but do not agree with them. That drives you crazy.

    You don’t understand my point of view. You can’t even validate them at all. I’ve validated your beliefs several times in this thread. I’ve told you I understand. I told you that I can see where you’re coming from. But you, as far as I can tell, lack the ability to do the same for me. Something appears, to me, to be missing from you.

    I would call it empathy.

    You might call it a soul.

  60. Lily
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

    Whatever, EG. Chasing greased pigs is fun at the county fair but not so much fun when they are running through the house. It is all a matter of knowing your audience, getting your facts straight and arguing lucidly. I see none of this in what you have written.

    There is no place left to go with this conversation. Maybe someone else will try to engage you.

  61. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 7:57 pm

    http://8e.devbio.com/article.php?id=162

    That’s a link to a chapter of a biology book that deals with exactly this COMPLICATED question. When does human life begin.

    Note: there are many different opinions on the answer, and how to arrive at the answer. I subscribe, personally, to the Metabolic View as described in that text.

    So stop making shit up. Its a real thing. And I’m not the only one who sees it that way. Just because its inconvenient to your own views doesn’t make it “evil” or “stupid.”

  62. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

    (in case you’re afraid its a virus or something, here’s the excerpt)

    Metabolic View:

    The metabolic view takes the stance that a single developmental moment marking the beginning of human life does not exist. Both the sperm and egg cells should individually be considered to be units of life in the same respect as any other single or multicellular organism. Thus, neither the union of two gametes nor any developmental point thereafter should be designated as the beginning of new life.

    Another slightly different though similar position maintains that the argument over when a new human life begins is irrelevant because the development of a child is a smoothly continuous process. Discrete marking points such as the fourteen day dividing line between a zygote and an embryo are entirely artificial constructions of biologists and doctors in order to better categorize development for academic purposes. This position is supported by recent research that has revealed that fertilization itself is not even an instantaneous event, but rather a process that takes 20-22 hours between the time the sperm penetrates the outermost layers of the egg and the formation of a diploid cell (Kuhse 1988).

  63. EclecticGuru
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 8:06 pm

    Also, this is a summary of many of the main views for your edification. Perhaps you can open your mind a little bit.

    * The metabolic view: There is no one point when life begins. The sperm cell and egg cell are as alive as any other organism.

    * The genetic view: A new individual is created at fertilization. This is when the genes from the two parents combine to form an individual with unique properties.

    * The embryological view: In humans, identical twinning can occur as late as day 12 pc. Such twinning produces two individuals with different lives. Even conjoined (“Siamese”) twins can have different personalities. Thus, a single individuality is not fixed earlier than day 12. (In religious terms, the two individuals have different souls). Some medical texts consider the stages before this time as “pre-embryonic.” This view is expressed by scientists such as Renfree (1982) and Grobstein (1988) and has been endorsed theologically by Ford (1988), Shannon and Wolter (1990), and McCormick (1991), among others. (Such a view would allow contraception, “morning-after” pills, and contragestational agents, but not abortion after two weeks.)

    * The neurological view: Our society has defined death as the loss of the cerebral EEG (electroencephalogram) pattern. Conversely, some scientists have thought that the acquisition of the human EEG (at about 27 weeks) should be defined as when a human life begins. This view has been put forth most concretely by Morowitz and Trefil (1992). (This view and the ones following would allow mid-trimester abortions).

    * The ecological/technological view: This view sees human life as beginning when it can exist separately from its maternal biological environment. The natural limit of viability occurs when the lungs mature, but technological advances can now enable a premature infant to survive at about 25 weeks gestation. (This is the view currently operating in many states. Once a fetus can be potentially independent, it cannot be aborted.)

    * The immunological view: This view sees human life as beginning when the organism recognizes the distinction between self and non-self. In humans, this occurs around the time of birth.

    * The integrated physiological view: This view sees human life as beginning when an individual has become independent of the mother and has its own functioning circulatory system, alimentary system, and respiratory system. This is the traditional birthday when the baby is born into the world and the umbilical cord is cut.

  64. MK
    June 3rd, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

    EG,

    There is a moment, a single, incredible moment, when a sperm meets an egg, is taken into that egg and *something* happens. Something unique and new, becomes.

    While it is possible to put a sperm and egg together in a petri dish, or split a human cell and start it regenerating, or implant a fertilized egg into a woman, no one has or ever will be able to make new life out of something dead.

    It is this moment, that we hold so dear. We recognize that it is unique, special. *Something* happens that cannot be replicated. Not even by Dr. Frankenstein.

    You can label all the stages that happen after that moment, and you can even say that some are more recognizably human. But you cannot deny that at the moment the sperm meets the egg something is there that wasn’t before. A person. Albeit a person that looks nothing like your grandmother or your uncle, but a person none the less.

    I personally have never called a pro choice person evil simply because they were pro choice. I have called Dr. Tiller evil, because I know that he knows the truth, but didn’t care.

    Please don’t say that I have no empathy for those on the other side. Please don’t say that all I do is whine on blogs. That is simply not true.

    I use these blogs to educate. I raise money through my church for Crisis Pregnancy Centers. I have spent hundreds of hours in front of abortion clinics, and have saved any number of babies lives, simply by reaching out to men and women that feel as if no one cares.

    And while you may think it is pointless, I pray. And pray, and pray.

    For the Tillers of the world, for all the women that feel abortion is the answer to all their problems, for the women that are in true crisis situations and the teenager that simply wasn’t mature enough to be playing in the big leagues, I pray for Patricia Ireland, for those that are adamantly pro choice, and for those that are indifferent, I pray for all of the babies whose lives were taken away before they drew their first breaths…I pray for you.

    I do whatever I can and I wake up every morning and try to think of new ways to reach a hardened audience. I live, breathe, sleep…the pro life cause.

    We don’t hate the pro choice crowd. We don’t even know the pro choice crowd. We hate the lies, the ignorance, the coldness, the blood, the death, the sadness, but we do not hate the people. Each one has a story. Each one is worth hearing.

    We believe that these babies are real, alive, as deserving of a chance as any one of us are. As you are.

    It’s late, and I’m tired, but I just wanted you to know that we do not think you are animals, we realize that you are people, with feelings, and passions and hopes…just like us. But we see an injustice and we are doing our best to live up to our own standards…the idea that every life, whether pro choice, pro life, criminally insane or unborn…deserves a chance. Just a chance.

    Yes. I believe in God. Does that really offend you so much? Yes, I believe that life begins at conception. Is that really so horrible? Does that really make me stupid? Blind? Only able to see in black and white? Or does it simply make me another “Joe” trying to do the best she can in a world that sometimes seems completely insane? I’m not that different than you. You’re not that different from me.

    But if we keep yelling at each other, we’ll never know that, will we?

  65. Lily
    June 4th, 2009 @ 10:04 am

    Actually, MK, while I would never dispute that something special happens at that moment when sperm and egg meet, it is also a medical fact. The standard text book on the subject is William Larsen’s Human Embryology which is used in virtually all medical teaching programs I can find. It has even been translated into Spanish (maybe other languages I don’t know about). The University of Cincinnati Dept. of Cancer and Cell Biology uses it and has even mounted the instructor’s manual online (password protected, unfortunately. But the slides and supplementary material are freely available). Larsen says:

    “The discussion of human embryology could be initiated at any of several points in the human reproductive cycle. In this text we begin our description of the developing human with the formation and differentiation of the male and female sex cells … which will unite at fertilization to initiate the embryonic development of a new individual. (This can be found on Google books– I think it is page 1 — it follows the t of c in any case)

    The point is that it is perfectly fine to talk about mom and dad, body fluids, et al. they are indeed part of the life cycle. However, fertilization is the beginning of the new human being. In the book to which EG linked, the authors all have different criteria which, unsurprisingly, we have heard before, since they are usually brought up to justify abortion at different points along the developmental spectrum. It seems clear to me that no medically informed person disputes that human life starts at conception but these various theories all aim at showing that conception isn’t the important point– something else is. So, it seems to me that the most reasonable course is to accept what everyone can agree on and not some other point along the developmental spectrum.

  66. MT
    June 4th, 2009 @ 10:30 am

    “You can think whatever you want. But keep in mind that by calling someone an evil baby killing monster, and not taking personal responsibility to put that monster out of business, you are leaving the door open for other people to do your job for you.”

    Who’s calling anyone a baby killing monster? I don’t know if abortionists are evil. I don’t know what’s in their hearts, I don’t know what’s in anyone’s heart, so I can’t say if that person is “good” or “bad.” But I do know that sucking a living person out of their mother’s womb and tearing that person to pieces is evil. That doesn’t mean I want the abortionist to die. I just think what they are doing is wrong, and must be stopped.

    I mean, would you say that Ghandi wanted the British occupying his country to be executed? Do you think Martin Luther King Jr. wanted every single racist in America to be shot? Really, it is possible to hate what someone is doing but not hate the person.

  67. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 11:05 am

    I understand that you think something “magical” happens at fertilization and I totally sympathize with that. It does seem like it.

    And if you *are* going to draw the line at the “creation” of a human life at a certain point, then fertilization is as good (if not better) point to draw a line than any other. But you are deciding it. Not nature, not god. Men and women are making this choice to decide when life begins.

    Now, I’m sure you’re thinking this, “No, men and women aren’t deciding it. Nature is. It’s a fact, and EG is just talking nonsense again.” Please, however, keep in mind that I understand where you are coming from. I understand your argument and I agree that it does seem like as good, if not better, point to draw the line than others, but there is a qualification. It is a line that is being drawn where a line doesn’t exist naturally.

    The facts fit the understanding that human life is a continuous and smooth development, and that it has no clean “break off point” between where the parents end and where the child begins. Even this “moment” of fertilization takes almost a FULL day to occur. And then beyond that, there is a 12 day period where the new “individual” can actually become TWO separate organisms.

    So at what point in the reproductive cycle do we draw the line? You have decided fertilization. I have concluded that there is no non-arbitrary line, since the reproductive cycle, INCLUDING fertilization, is a smooth and continuous process.

    Does the magic happen the moment the sperm touches the egg? The moment it begins to penetrate the outer wall? Does it happen the moment the sperm gets close to the egg and that it is the only sperm around so there is almost no chance of another sperm reaching it? Does it happen when the sperm reaches the inner part of the egg? Does it happen when the genetic material of the sperm and the egg begin to interact? Or does it happen when the man ejaculates into a woman and THEIR genetic material begins to interact?

    Or is it when the egg develops in a woman? Or when the sperm develops in a man?

    Or is it when the embryo begins to develop organs? Or when it develops a functioning brain? Or when it can live on its own?

    The facts are there, but its up to us to use our reason to interpret them. Not only to interpret when life “begins” but when HUMAN life begins, what it means to be HUMAN, what LIFE is, and if it has a beginning at all.

    I do understand where you are coming from, I can see not only the REASON why you have chosen to believe that the “moment” of fertilization is when human life begins, but I also understand and can empathize with that “magical” feeling that you have when you imagine that moment and what it means and how beautiful human life is.

    I also value that feeling that you feel, that connection to human life that you have. It is, in my understanding, a “good thing.”

    What makes me sad, very sad, is that, while you have that connection to fertilized eggs, you have darkened your heart to others whose experience in life, and understanding of the facts, have led them to DIFFERENT conclusions and different beliefs. When you call them “monsters” and “evil”, you are squandering that magical connection to the human experience that we all share.

    And not only that, but as I have said, there are personal ethical responsibilities that go along with targeting individuals or groups with such emotionally and “supernaturally” laden keywords, especially in communities or cultures that lend credence to those assertions.

    It is a heavy load to bear, especially when you are already weighted down by the feeling of responsibility, as a culture, for what you consider such brutal violence perpetrated on the precious human lives that have been aborted before they had a chance to experience the wonders of this beautiful world we live in. But as someone who shares this world with other people who don’t believe in the same things you do, it is a load that you must learn to bear, and the grace that you bear it is a test of your own personal character.

    As an aside to Lily, I know that you have said “it seems to me that no medically ifnormed person disputes that human life starts at conception”. That’s just not true. I’m pretty sure you’d define those people who disagree as not “truly medically informed” but that’s a somewhat common logical error often called the “No true scotsman” fallacy.

    There is disagreement, and if you read that link I posted above, you can read about all the different historical and cultural and scientific views about the question “When does human life begin.” It’s up to YOU to decide from the facts, but its obvious that, in our country at least, this is a very complicated question that so many of us have different conclusions from the facts.

    And I want to reiterate again. I don’t think you’re a terrible person for not concluding, as I have concluded, that there is no strictly defined line of “when human life begins”. I don’t think that, since I have defined human life to be a beautiful and unbroken chain between parents and child, that you are morally corrupt or wicked as a result of your disagreement. I understand that you are just interpreting the facts in the way that your world view, and your own rational framework, is inclined to interpret them.

    I think its a good belief that you have, for the most part.

    My only issue with what you believe, is that it darkens your heart toward others. If you look for sins in others, you will find them. We are all flawed people, no one is perfect, and some of us are far less perfect than others. We have to accept each other, decide rationally and collectively what behavior is unacceptable and must be moderated by the state, and then live within the framework of laws and justice and (most importantly) personal responsibility.

  68. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 11:10 am

    “Who’s calling anyone a baby killing monster?”

    Please don’t be coy. You know very well that there are many people in the pro-life movement who believe that abortion is “baby killing” and that people who willfully engage in such actions are described as “monsters.”

    Bill O’Reilly for instance. On TV. To a large audience.

  69. MT
    June 4th, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

    Some ultra-conservatives are too judgemental when it comes to abortion (or any issue, for that matter).

    But there are many of us who don’t think on those terms. I don’t watch Bill O’Reilly, or Rush Limbaugh, or FOX News at all. This might come as a surprise to you, but liberal pro-lifers do exist. We just aren’t as loud as the others. Which is a shame, come to think of it.

    Either way, yes, I believe that abortion is baby killing (that’s why we’re against it), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I think every nurse, doctor, and volunteer who steps foot in Planned Parenthood will burn in the pits of hell for eternity. But that doesn’t change the fact that what they do is wrong.

  70. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

    “This might come as a surprise to you, but liberal pro-lifers do exist.”

    I was once an atheist pro-lifer with many liberal views (and many libertarian ones also). I was against abortion, and against the death penalty. So its not a surprise to me at all.

    I changed my views over time, to fit the way the universe works, according to my experience and understanding.

    I still have personal convictions against abortion, but don’t think its a matter for the state to get involved in, since it is such a complicated issue and our country is split on it. I’d rather the state just stay out of it and let people figure it out themselves, and take personal responsibility for their actions according to their beliefs.

    As an aside, I’m also still against the death penalty, and have once again decided that the state should stay out of it. In this case, that means no executing prisoners. For the same reasons I’m against the state getting involved in abortions.

    I understand why pro-lifers do what they do, and feel the way they feel. I just think the whole world would benefit if the movement got off its holy high horse and try to understand that the people on the other side of the fence of that issue aren’t servants of Satan or any more “sinful” “evil” or “monstrous” than pro-lifers are. We all share the same, flawed, human condition and its up to us to make this world a better place to live in. We need to compromise when its appropriate, and this issue is clearly one of those cases.

    If you frame the issue in an inflexible manner, drawing a battle line between good and evil, then YOU must take personal responsibility for those who are championing your cause. Even if you disagree with their methods, they are fighting YOUR battle between good and evil, in the paradigm that you created.

  71. MT
    June 4th, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

    “I just think the whole world would benefit if the movement got off its holy high horse and try to understand that the people on the other side of the fence of that issue aren’t servants of Satan or any more “sinful” “evil” or “monstrous” than pro-lifers are. We all share the same, flawed, human condition and its up to us to make this world a better place to live in. We need to compromise when its appropriate, and this issue is clearly one of those cases.”

    I completely agree with you. Almost.

    I do think a lot of things should be compromised, IF it’s not directly affecting anyone else. Abortion directly affects two people (one in particular). There 1.2 million abortions ever year. Only 7 percent are performed beause of a “hard case.” What do you tell the other 93 percent.

    It’s your choice?

  72. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 2:11 pm

    That was exactly my belief, once upon a time. And that’s why I was a pro-lifer. I understand now, from what I’ve read, and from listening to people over the years, that the issue is more complicated.

    There are many different views on what is a “person” and what isn’t, especially when it comes to the very early stages of reproduction.

    Most (if not all) the people who have posted on this thread don’t think that a man’s sperm is entitled to human rights, even though, as I understand it, it is the very “beginning” of a new human life. So too is the argument against giving those same rights to pre-embryos (the morning after pill), embryos (early term abortion) and early-development fetuses (mid term abortion).

    Where do we, as a society, draw the line between what legal rights and responsibilities a developing human is empowered with from the state?

    Seems to me, since the development of a human is gradual and continual, that we grant those legal rights in a gradual, continual spectrum.

    Sperm, unfertilized egg — very few, if any. Pre-embryonic, a few more. Embryonic, a few more. Fetal, more. Viable fetal, even more. Infant, more rights. Child, more rights. Adolescent, more rights. Young adults, even more. And then an adult — equal rights.

    We can see the end of that spectrum clearly in our society. Children have to do what their parents tell them, adolescents can’t vote or fight in the military. Young adults can vote, drive, etc, but aren’t allowed to drink. Full adults have equal rights, and responsibilities.

    That’s how I see things, that’s what would be the “perfect” and “natural” solution to me. But I understand that not everyone sees things that way, and I’m willing to compromise.

    Lines have to be drawn somewhere. But its not a “black and white” moral issue, at least so far as our government should be concerned. Its a civil issue, and in a collective democracy, we absolutely must be open to compromise with one another, or risk violent conflict.

    And in order to compromise, to truly compromise, we must make an effort to be open-minded.

  73. MT
    June 4th, 2009 @ 2:16 pm

    So you’re saying that an adolescent has less right to live than an adult. I’m not challenging you, I’m trying to understand your thinking.

    What about the elderly. Physically, they aren’t much more advanced than infants.

  74. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

    Less legal rights. For instance, an adolescent can’t make life choices for himself without parental consent, isn’t allowed to make legal contracts, and so forth. We currently grant the legal right to “life” in this country, around the age of ‘viability’ which is around the mid-fetal age I guess.

    There are movements in this country, not unlike the pro-life movement in general aim, if not motivation, that think that the drinking age should be moved down to 18. Legally speaking, they’re trying to do the same thing as the pro-lifers, change where that arbitrary line between legal rights is granted.

    The fact is, its up to us, as a society, to work this complicated issue out. Collectively. And everyone with all our different views and interpretations and philosophies will have to compromise to find an answer.

  75. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

    Oh, and as for elderly. There are current laws that allow family members, or the state, to have their extremely infirm elderly members declared legally incompetent, and to take legal guardianship of those elderly family members. This is another issue that our society has dealt with, regarding legal rights.

  76. MT
    June 4th, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

    “There are current laws that allow family members, or the state, to have their extremely infirm elderly members declared legally incompetent, and to take legal guardianship of those elderly family members.”

    What’s your opinion on that?

  77. MK
    June 4th, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

    Eg,

    You ignore what Lily has shown you over and over.

    1. A sperm will NEVER become a child on it’s own.
    An egg will NEVER become a child on it’s own.
    2. When a sperm and an egg meet, it does NOT take a day to become fertilized. It takes a “moment”…it can take a day to implant, but that is not ferilization.

    3. From the moment an egg accepts the sperm, something NEW is created. A life. A life that is human. Period.
    We hold, that what that human life is capbable of acheiving, or whether or not it requires help to survive is unimportant. It is human life. That’s all you need to know.

    4. When you start putting criteria on people, determining what is needed before it can be considered a “person” you are opening a very dangerous door. Keep it simple. Human Life must be protected. Every human life has the right to “be”. End of conversation.

    5. You think the state should stay out of executions. And your idea of staying out of it is to not do them or allow them. Why is this not the same criteria for abortions. The state should not do them, nor allow them.

    6. You are you. Your husband is your husband. Your child is not half your husband and half you. Your child is your child. He is a unique and fully autonomous individual. He is not your limb, or your thoughts or you. He is he. This idea you have that we are all one big flowing continuum, is fine and good and you’re welcome to whatever new age belief system you choose, but it isn’t based on science. It is more pie in the sky, ookie-kookie than my belief in a Supremem Being. But whatever.

    7. You seem to be kind of hung up on what Nature says…well nature says that sperm ejactualted into your tissue will get thrown away. 9 months from now it will still be a tissue filled with the fruits of your fondling. But it will not be a Jack or a Jill. Every month I ovulate, and if I don’t have intercourse then my egg exits my body and disappears with the toilet paper into the sewers with the alligators. Nature has set it up so that I have no clue where I left my egg, or when it left my body because it is no more important than ear wax. The only time I can tell you where my egg is at any given time is when it is fertilized by my husbands sperm and growing in my uterus. Why? Because Nature deemed it so. Once that egg ceases being an egg and becomes a Bob or a Betty, I’m suddenly VERY aware of where it is. BECAUSE at that point it becomes IMPORTANT. It becomes worthy of NOTICE. It becomes a SOMEONE. I didn’t make those rules. I just recognize them.

  78. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

    “What’s your opinion on (current laws that allow family members, or the state, to have their extremely infirm elderly members declared legally incompetent, and to take legal guardianship of those elderly family members)?”

    My political opinion is that the laws are ok the way they are now (a judge needs to get involved, there is no automatic “line” where the elderly lose rights).

    My philosophical opinion is that you have to be very careful about taking away rights, after you have already given them. It’s a sticky and complicated subject.

    My personal experience (anecdote alert) is … my father, in the last years of his life, suffered a rotator cuff injury. The doctors gave him opiate pain medication and he became addicted. He went to several different doctors to get multiple prescriptions and was, as a result, addicted. His primary care physician seemed unwilling to take medical measures to assist with his addiction, mainly because my father, who was very old, very ill, and very very high on drugs, was unwilling to stop.

    He got to the point where he was defecating on himself, and was going to be evicted from his apartment as a result (he was in an elderly housing facility, one step below an assisted living facility). I wanted to put him in an assisted living or nursing home situation, something where his medication would be monitored, but he was not cooperative.

    I eventually had to take the matter to court, in pursuit of a declaration of incompetence and the power of medical attorney. This is not easily accomplished.

    Before I could help him, he passed away from a heart attack. Whether or not the 2+ years of heavy drug abuse, and the resulting neglect to his own personal care contributed to this, I don’t know. Whether or not, given medical power of attorney, I could have made his last years more comfortable, more fulfilling, or whether he would have just suffered more, I don’t know.

    But I felt personally responsible, and I did what I could, and what I felt was right. The law was there for me to try, and I’m glad for it.

    I also understand why there is a lot of legal inertia to taking away someone’s rights to such things as personal medical decisions.

  79. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

    “You ignore what Lily has shown you over and over.”

    No, I dispute some of her premises and much of her logic, and thus, disagree with her conclusions.

    I will address them again, as you have outlined them.

    “1. A sperm will NEVER become a child on it’s own.
    An egg will NEVER become a child on it’s own.”

    I agree with these premises, depending on your definition of “child”. I have to be careful here, because I think pro-lifers misuse the term “baby”, or at least have a different understanding of the word than I do. If by child you mean “earliest stage of human life” than I disagree. Gametes are the first stage of human reproduction (discounting, of course, the gametocytes, which is probably unfair).

    2. When a sperm and an egg meet, it does NOT take a day to become fertilized. It takes a “moment”…it can take a day to implant, but that is not ferilization.

    The process of fertilization, that is to say the time from when the sperm first penetrates the outer surface of an eggs, and their genetic material begins to ‘combine’ to form a diploid (that is a cell with cell is almost a full day. I’m not making this up! Here’s a quote from the biology book I linked to above:

    ‘This position is supported by recent research that has revealed that fertilization itself is not even an instantaneous event, but rather a process that takes 20-22 hours between the time the sperm penetrates the outermost layers of the egg and the formation of a diploid cell.’

    A diploid cell is a cell that has two full copies of each chromosome, one from the sperm, and one from the egg. During this 20-22 hours, the genetic material is slowly, smoothly, and continuously being combined. So this “magic” moment that you’re talking about doesn’t exist. it is a magic “day”, to be accurate.

    At the start of the process, the cell is a haploid egg with a haploid sperm sticking out of it, and at the end, it is a diploid cell with two sets of chromosomes combined. In the intermediate time, it is something “between” the two. With some chromosomes combined, and others not.

    Now, I can see your argument as “well, left on its own, it will become a diploid cell, so that’s enough for me.” But once the man ejaculates into the woman, left on its own, the sperm and egg will combined to make a diploid cell as well. It is, as I said, a continuous, metabolic process. So by that argument, your “magic moment” is not fertilization, it is consummation.

    Forgive the following immature humor: I would have to agree, that moment is pretty damn magical.

    At any rate, to sum up. Your point 2 is factually incorrect.

    3. From the moment an egg accepts the sperm, something NEW is created. A life. A life that is human. Period.

    Each sperm, and each egg, contains a unique selection of the father’s, and mother’s, genetic material respectively. Each sperm, and each egg, is unique, and new. And they are both “human” and “alive.” It is through the combination of these “unique” cells that comes about the next step in reproduction “fertilization.” But that’s not the first step, or phase, of unique human life. Through gametogenesis, a spermocyte’s genetic material is broken down, and each sperm has a unique combination of genes from each of the father’s two copies of chromosomes. It would be that sperm, and the mother’s corresponding egg, that would be the beginning of a new human’s “uniqueness”.

    Even if we were to assume that your premise was correct (which it is not), and that “uniqueness” started when the sperm and egg met, how do you explain twins? For a period of almost two weeks, those cells have the potential to split and create TWO individuals. If the fertilized egg is “unique” then how can it become TWO different people?

    “(3 continued) We hold, that what that human life is capbable of acheiving, or whether or not it requires help to survive is unimportant. It is human life. That’s all you need to know.”

    I understand that premise. It’s open to debate, but that’s a philosophical issue, not a logical one.

    But assuming your own premise, it seems to undermine your own argument above re: sperm not able to turn into a baby on its own. One can apply this premise similarly: Sperm does require the proper environment to continue its development. It requires a woman’s fertile womb. As does an embryo.

    “4. When you start putting criteria on people, determining what is needed before it can be considered a “person” you are opening a very dangerous door.”

    This is a premise that I can’t argue with. I do agree with it. It’s a very complicated issue.

    “(4 continued) Keep it simple. Human Life must be protected. Every human life has the right to “be”. End of conversation.”

    This is a philosophical issue, and an interesting one. As I have proven above, sperm and eggs are “human life”, then according to your premise here, they would have to be protected (by law, presumably). However, if you draw your arbitrary line at “fertilization” then you are opening yourself up to dispute by abortionists who draw their line at the “fetal stage” or at “viability.” You are favoring one arbitrary view of the start of human life over other (perhaps equally utilitarian, if not more so) arbitrary views on that subject.

    I do disagree with “end of conversation” though, since you have factual errors in your premises and logical errors in your conclusions.

    “5. You think the state should stay out of executions. And your idea of staying out of it is to not do them or allow them. Why is this not the same criteria for abortions. The state should not do them, nor allow them.”

    My idea of the state staying out of executions is not doing them, yes. I also don’t think the state should perform abortions. This is my philosophy on that subject: “When in doubt, err on the side of individual liberty.”

    I suggest reading the book “On Liberty”. It’s a pretty good book that discusses the philosophical ramifications of the conflict between personal liberty and the “greater good” and gives one way to unravel that tangled issue. The author can probably explain it better than I ever could (though I don’t agree with him on every point, it is very enlightening).

    “6. You are you. Your husband is your husband. Your child is not half your husband and half you. Your child is your child. He is a unique and fully autonomous individual. He is not your limb, or your thoughts or you. He is he. This idea you have that we are all one big flowing continuum, is fine and good and you’re welcome to whatever new age belief system you choose, but it isn’t based on science. It is more pie in the sky, ookie-kookie than my belief in a Supremem Being. But whatever.”

    My child came from me, and my wife. I created a sperm, she created an egg, from our gametocytes that were once a part of us. I penetrated her. My sperm penetrated her egg. Over a period of about a day, the genetic material from my sperm combined with the genetic material combined with her egg, creating a diploid cell. That diploid cell divided several times, following the genetic code from my sperm, and her egg, the genes that came from her, and from me, and an embryo was formed. That embryo implanted itself in her body. It was nurtured from her blood, and continued to divide and develop into a fetus. That fetus continued to develop and became a baby and was born. Until that time, nothing, no part of that child, came from anything that wasn’t myself, or my wife. Not a single gene, not even a single protein.

    That is science. There is nothing ookie kookie about that. Honestly. If you don’t believe me, just read any developmental biology book. Or look it up on the internet.

    And by the way. I’m not new age. I’m an atheist, and, barring extraordinary proof, reject pleas to the supernatural.

    To summarize: your point 6 is not only ironically ad hominem, but also false on several different levels.

    “7. You seem to be kind of hung up on what Nature says…well nature says that sperm ejactualted into your tissue will get thrown away. 9 months from now it will still be a tissue filled with the fruits of your fondling. But it will not be a Jack or a Jill. Every month I ovulate, and if I don’t have intercourse then my egg exits my body and disappears with the toilet paper into the sewers with the alligators. Nature has set it up so that I have no clue where I left my egg, or when it left my body because it is no more important than ear wax. The only time I can tell you where my egg is at any given time is when it is fertilized by my husbands sperm and growing in my uterus. Why? Because Nature deemed it so. Once that egg ceases being an egg and becomes a Bob or a Betty, I’m suddenly VERY aware of where it is. BECAUSE at that point it becomes IMPORTANT. It becomes worthy of NOTICE. It becomes a SOMEONE. I didn’t make those rules. I just recognize them.”

    You actually can’t feel the life in your belly until the point in its development referred to, historically, as the “quickening”. It’s when the baby would first move in the belly of the mother, the first ‘sign of life’ that nature has to let us know that the little guy in there is alive. It’s about 20 weeks or so, on average, but depends on a lot of factors.

    Thanks to modern science, we know what’s really going on in our reproduction. Just because you don’t “see” your egg, or your sperm, doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. And just because you don’t “sense life” in them, doesn’t mean that they aren’t alive. Science shows us otherwise.

    The same exact science that lets us know that your embryo is actually alive before you can feel it move inside you.

    You can’t have your cake, and eat it too.

  80. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

    “The process of fertilization, that is to say the time from when the sperm first penetrates the outer surface of an eggs, and their genetic material begins to ‘combine’ to form a diploid (that is a cell with cell is almost a full day.”

    This sentence should read:

    “The process of fertilization, that is to say the time from when the sperm first penetrates the outer surface of an eggs, and their genetic material begins to ‘combine’ to form a diploid cell is almost a full day.”

  81. MK
    June 4th, 2009 @ 8:36 pm

    But once the man ejaculates into the woman, left on its own, the sperm and egg will combined to make a diploid cell as well.

    That is not a given. That is a maybe. Once the egg has accepted the sperm, the process has indeed begun. Every time I walk out of my house I do not necessarily get into my car. If I do, and then I start the engine and press the gas pedal, you can safely say I am going for a drive. Something out of the ordinary would have to happen to change that.

    Just because a sperm “leaves it’s house”, does not mean it will “enter the car and go for a drive”. There are still a lot of things that can happen between the house and the car. Like for instance the car could be in the shop, the car could have been stolen, or he could decide to walk.

    But once the sperm enters the car, it is a pretty sure bet that he’s going for a ride. When we talk about Natural Law, we mean nature working as it was intended. If it doesn’t work that way, then it is not working properly. It can still be a natural occurrence, but it is breaking it’s own laws. Not every fertilized egg will make it to birth, not every infant will make it to toddlerhood, but if all goes the way nature means it to go…if everything is working properly, that little fertilized egg will live a long and happy life. A life which began the moment the sperm entered the car.

  82. MK
    June 4th, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

    I understand that premise. It’s open to debate, but that’s a philosophical issue, not a logical one.

    Which is why I said “we” and not “you”.

  83. MK
    June 4th, 2009 @ 8:39 pm

    That embryo implanted itself in her body. It was nurtured from her blood, and continued to divide and develop into a fetus. That fetus continued to develop and became a baby and was born. Until that time, nothing, no part of that child, came from anything that wasn’t myself, or my wife. Not a single gene, not even a single protein.

    That’s all lovely. But your child is still a unique individual. It is not “half you” and “half your wife”. It doesn’t have your wifes right eye and your left arm. It has a combination of your wifes eyes and your eyes…but they are your child’s eyes. That too is science.

  84. MK
    June 4th, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

    To summarize: your point 6 is not only ironically ad hominem, but also false on several different levels.

    I agree. It was snarky. Sorry. But it wasn’t false. Your child does not have your body parts. Or his mothers. He has a unique set of legs, lips, talents, intelligence…which yes, are the result of this wonderful process we call “sex”, but he is not made up of your parts. You gave his cells information. But that information combined to make a unique individual, completely separate and different from you and your wife.

  85. MK
    June 4th, 2009 @ 8:45 pm

    You actually can’t feel the life in your belly until the point in its development referred to, historically, as the “quickening”. It’s when the baby would first move in the belly of the mother, the first ’sign of life’ that nature has to let us know that the little guy in there is alive. It’s about 20 weeks or so, on average, but depends on a lot of factors.

    Trust me, after six kids, I don’t need to “feel” the life to know my egg has gone AWOL. I knew I was pregnant within two weeks with each of my kids.

    And I never said that sperm was not alive. I said it wasn’t a life. There is a difference. Trees are alive, but they aren’t people. Sperm is alive, sure. But it isn’t a human being. Not till it meets my egg.

  86. MK
    June 4th, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

    Sperm…something
    Egg…something
    Sperm + Egg…someONE

  87. MT
    June 4th, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

    EG, regarding your father, there’s a LOT of gray area in these cases. While you were trying to do something reponsible and good for your father, others might(will) take advantge of the law. That’s why I’m very aprehensive of it.

  88. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

    To help you all out, I’d like to offer some actually solid rational and utilitarian arguments against abortion.

    1) It causes emotional harm to the woman who is forced to make a “life or death” decision, every time she is pregnant.

    2) It causes lasting trauma to a woman who chooses abortion, but later comes to regret it.

    3) There are health risks involved in abortion.

    4) So many people oppose abortion to irrationally hysterical levels, that continuing its practice causes grievous emotional distress to them.

    Unfortunately, these arguments are all subject to being weighed on the “does more good than harm vs. more harm than good” scale. Some may also may have alternative solutions than outlawing abortion. It’s largely subjective, and, in our democracy, requires compromise and consensus.

    Still, they are valid, if not solid, arguments against abortion, or at least in strongly restricting its practice.

    They do not demonize those who support abortion

    And you might find them more persuasive when dealing with certain types of people: Atheists, humanists, secularists, and their ilk.

    Take it, or leave it. Just trying to help you out a bit, since I’ve probably stressed many of you out with my vulgarity and brashness.

    And if that’s not amends enough, then fuck it. ;)

  89. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 9:18 pm

    “That is not a given. That is a maybe.”

    Not all embryos become babies either. Lots of things can go wrong. Sometimes they don’t implant, sometimes they just die. And sometimes the sperm doesn’t find its way to the egg.

    But “if all goes as it should”, yes, spermocyte divides into sperm, sperm is ejaculated into woman,sperm meets egg, egg becomes haploid cell, zygote implants, becomes embryo, embryo develops properly and becomes fetus, fetus develops properly and becomes infant, and infant exits womb and is born.

    Your argument is flawed because if you apply the same logic regarding fertilized eggs, embryos, or fetuses (that they don’t always become babies), then they don’t qualify as human life either.

  90. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 9:29 pm

    “That’s all lovely. But your child is still a unique individual. It is not “half you” and “half your wife”. It doesn’t have your wifes right eye and your left arm. It has a combination of your wifes eyes and your eyes…but they are your child’s eyes. That too is science.”

    Right, but while the child is in the womb, the actual body is created from material that was once a part of my wife, and it is put together following a code that is exactly (well, other than the difference in “size” of the X/Y chromosomes, but we won’t split hairs) one half from me, and one half from her.

    You are arguing based on “genetic uniqueness”. That genetic uniqueness is a result of the way that gametogenesis works, and that “magic moment” plays out well in advance of fertilization.

    I’m not even convinced that “genetic uniqueness” is a good way to argue, but even assuming that it is, fertilization is not where it takes place.

    I guess one could argue that the whole “sperm selection” process, the fact that so many sperm have a “chance” to implant the egg, adds to the uniqueness of the resulting child. But if you will consider the following: If a doctor artificially fertilized an egg with just one sperm, and then implanted that egg in a woman, would not the resulting child be “human”? Therefore, that argument is irrelevant.

  91. MT
    June 4th, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

    “And if that’s not amends enough, then fuck it.”

    You’re forgiven.

  92. EclecticGuru
    June 4th, 2009 @ 9:38 pm

    “Trust me, after six kids, I don’t need to “feel” the life to know my egg has gone AWOL. I knew I was pregnant within two weeks with each of my kids.”

    I trust you. And even though most women “know” they are pregnant, at least by the time they miss a period or two, they can’t actually tell if whatever is inside of them is alive until it moves.

    They know that when they are pregnant, they often give birth to live babies, but sometimes (too often, tragically) things do not go well.

    Really, people used to think that the fetus wasn’t alive until it started to move. They actually wholeheartedly believed that, until science showed it wasn’t true.

    “And I never said that sperm was not alive. I said it wasn’t a life. There is a difference. Trees are alive, but they aren’t people. Sperm is alive, sure. But it isn’t a human being. Not till it meets my egg.”

    I’m fine with that. However, it is equally valid for someone to say that a fetus isn’t a human being until it has a fully developed brain.

    Why?

    You are arbitrarily picking fertilization as the start of human life when you have not yet supplied a logical reason to do so, that isn’t either based on false premises or false logic. All you have left is an “appeal to common sense”, and if it were so common, there wouldn’t be so many people with disagreeing opinions. myself included.

  93. JoAnna
    June 4th, 2009 @ 11:51 pm

    I trust you. And even though most women “know” they are pregnant, at least by the time they miss a period or two, they can’t actually tell if whatever is inside of them is alive until it moves.

    I saw ultrasounds of my daughter and my son at 8 and 9 weeks, respectively. I saw them moving, and saw their heartbeats. My daughter’s ultrasound was transvaginal, and I saw her waving her arms and kicking her legs, moving her head and her rump, and saw her heart beating. At that point, I was pretty sure I was pregnant with a living being. I didn’t need to wait until I felt movement to know that.

  94. EclecticGuru
    June 5th, 2009 @ 1:02 am

    “I saw ultrasounds of my daughter and my son at 8 and 9 weeks, respectively. I saw them moving, and saw their heartbeats. My daughter’s ultrasound was transvaginal, and I saw her waving her arms and kicking her legs, moving her head and her rump, and saw her heart beating. At that point, I was pretty sure I was pregnant with a living being. I didn’t need to wait until I felt movement to know that.”

    Indeed. Science is a wonderful thing. :)

    I think you’re just being argumentative though. I totally agree, using science, we now know that embryos are alive even before we can feel them move.

    Things can be alive, even if they’re really small and don’t even look like people. Your embryo was alive even before it had hands and feet. And even when it was two haploid cells!

  95. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 5:39 am

    Your argument is flawed because if you apply the same logic regarding fertilized eggs, embryos, or fetuses (that they don’t always become babies), then they don’t qualify as human life either.

    My argument is NOT that they sometimes don’t…my argument IS that Nature INTENDS for every fertilized egg to continue growing. It DOESN’T INTEND for every act of of sex to result in a fertilized egg.

    Good Heavens, I went way out of my way to make you understand that I was NOT saying that every fertilized egg makes it.

    Why did I bother?

    I am talking about Natural Law. IF it goes as it is supposed to. I never said things don’t go wrong…as a matter of fact I made sure to acknowledge that things DO go wrong.

    If a fertilized egg dies, something WENT wrong.
    If an act of sex does not produce a fertilized egg, NOTHING WENT WRONG.

  96. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 5:43 am

    I trust you. And even though most women “know” they are pregnant, at least by the time they miss a period or two, they can’t actually tell if whatever is inside of them is alive until it moves.

    I never claimed that they could. I simply said that an unfertilized egg is passed out of a woman hundreds of times during her life, and it doesn’t matter. BUT, once it is fertilized, that egg becomes important, because it CHANGES.
    And that change is that it becomes a life.

    My statement was that they know WHERE there egg is. Not WHAT there egg is.

    Unfertilized eggs DON’T matter. They are not “who’s.” They are “what’s”

  97. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 5:55 am

    You are arbitrarily picking fertilization as the start of human life when you have not yet supplied a logical reason to do so, that isn’t either based on false premises or false logic. All you have left is an “appeal to common sense”, and if it were so common, there wouldn’t be so many people with disagreeing opinions. myself included.

    Good Lord Man…how many times do we have to say that a fertilized embryo is a teeny tiny human being that simply doesn’t look like one.

    You’re going to seriously argue that sentience is a criteria for a right to life? You’re going to tell me that you must be conscious, self aware? So what, every person in a coma ceases to be a human being, but if they come out of the coma they magically become a human being again?

    It is LAW and LAW alone that has determined when a human being has the RIGHT to be protected. Science shows that it is “A” human being from the moment of fertilization. Period. Now if you want to argue at what point in that human beings life it gains the RIGHT to have it’s life protected, that’s a whole other ball of wax.

    Very few pro choice people even argue for the “It’s not a human being” anymore. Most of them, the serious ones, admit that OF COURSE it is a living human being, but the fact that it is IN another person, means it has NO RIGHT TO LIFE.

    That’s the only real argument that there is. That’s the bottom line. Anything else is just pseudo-science and obfuscation.

    It’s all about who has the greater right. The mother, or the baby. That’s all you really can argue.

    We can go round and round and round about when it becomes a human being, but science has already determined that. What science CANNOT determine, is when that human being is afforded the right to CONTINUE being a human being.

    Have you ever read Gonzales vs Carhart??? Do you understand the reasoning behind the abortion argument?

    Dear God in Heaven, they spent hours determining if the unborn child gets the right to life when it is delivered up to the navel, or up to the neck. It’s insanity.

    The only real decision that has to be made is Does an unborn child have the same rights as it’s mother while it is still in the womb. It has nothing to do with whether or not it is a living human being, and everything to do with where that human being is residing.

    It’s that cold.

  98. EclecticGuru
    June 5th, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

    “My argument is NOT that they sometimes don’t…my argument IS that Nature INTENDS for every fertilized egg to continue growing. It DOESN’T INTEND for every act of of sex to result in a fertilized egg.”

    And in nature, not every fertilized egg becomes a child.

    Listen to me again.

    Not every fertilized egg continues growing into a child.

    Who is it that you think “intends” for fertilized eggs to continue growing, and what agency do you think intervenes to prevent them from doing so on the many occasions that they fail to implant, or are miscarried?

    It’s natural.

    Just like its natural for sperm to sometimes not combine with an egg.

    “I am talking about Natural Law. IF it goes as it is supposed to. I never said things don’t go wrong…as a matter of fact I made sure to acknowledge that things DO go wrong.”

    Yes, I understand that and I am following the same logic. If things go RIGHT for the sperm, it reaches an egg and creates a child. Sometimes things go WRONG and it doesn’t. I never said things don’t go wrong. As a matter of fact, I made sure to acknowledge that they do.

    When a man masturbates, he is acting as an agent to MAKE SURE that they go wrong. Just like the abortion doctor who INTERVENES with the natural course of the fertilized egg, and is acting as an agent to make sure that they go wrong. It’s a morally similar (if not identical) case.

    “I never claimed that they could. I simply said that an unfertilized egg is passed out of a woman hundreds of times during her life, and it doesn’t matter. BUT, once it is fertilized, that egg becomes important, because it CHANGES. And that change is that it becomes a life.”

    I am asserting, yet again, that in the process of your egg becoming a haploid cell it has already undergone a “change” that made it unique. Its called gametogenesis. It is the actual process that creates the “mathematical set” unique identity that is you. If, as you are claiming, that it is the fact that one of your cells undergoes a “change” that makes it a “unique life” that causes it to be special, then, according to the FACTS, it is gametogenesis, and not fertilization, that is the “first change”, and thus the “first moment” when life starts. You are picking, not when life begins, but some arbitrary later change that is important to you, for whatever reason.

    It is the same logic that abortionists use to define later changes in the organism as the start of human life. How is that difficult to understand? You don’t think an egg is important, and you are treating that life with the same scorn as an abortionist treats a fertilized egg. Because, to you, an egg doesn’t SEEM like life, it doesn’t SEEM human. But it is. And nothing you say, and no amount of logical loopholes can save you from that fact.

    It’s exactly the same argument that they use against your point, that you are using against mine.

    “You’re going to seriously argue that sentience is a criteria for a right to life? You’re going to tell me that you must be conscious, self aware? So what, every person in a coma ceases to be a human being, but if they come out of the coma they magically become a human being again?”

    This is a strawman argument.

    First of all, we’re arguing about what qualifies as human life, not what rights that human life should have.

    I’m operating under your black-and-white paradigm of “all human life is precious and should be protected by the state, and any acts to end that human life, or prevent it from developing naturally is morally equivalent to murder.”

    Second of all, I’m not trying to argue that anything beyond “being alive” and “being human” is a criteria for being a human life.

    You’re the one adding arbitrary requirements onto that. I’m just pointing out the inconsistencies in your whole “fertilized egg is the start of life” argument. Since it isn’t, and I’ve already proved that without dispute (all you’ve done to counter my argument is to continue to assert, without support, your false premise over and over and over again), then I am illustrating how your very same argument (that its not human life, but rather what stage of development that makes it a “human being with rights” that is important) is used by abortionists to justify their actions.

    “Science shows that it is “A” human being from the moment of fertilization. Period.”

    I’ve disputed this case of an argument of singularity (A human being as opposed to human life), at least in so far as the “fertilized egg”, by pointing out the fact that for 12 days after fertilization, the HUMAN LIFE in question can actually end up as TWO distinct individuals. So as it logically follows, the fertilized egg might, in fact, be ONE HALF of a human being.

    A diploid cell, by the way, fits that same criteria.

    So that “fact” isn’t true either.

    Science shows that two diploid cells, when following the course of the natural and healthy reproductive cycle, and assuming no accidents of nature, becomes A FERTILIZED EGG. Sperm, and eggs, are created in a process known as GAMETOGENESIS and it is in THAT MAGIC MOMENT that the genetic uniqueness of a NEW human life is determined. The dice are rolled, for the first time, THEN.

    “Very few pro choice people even argue for the “It’s not a human being” anymore. Most of them, the serious ones, admit that OF COURSE it is a living human being, but the fact that it is IN another person, means it has NO RIGHT TO LIFE.”

    I’m admitting that its human life.

    Why won’t you admit that gametes are human life?

    “That’s the only real argument that there is. That’s the bottom line. Anything else is just pseudo-science and obfuscation.”

    How is it pseudo-science and obfuscation? Point out where my facts, or logic, are wrong or misleading. To get to the crux of this issue, explain, logically or factually, how a fertilized egg (and decide whether you mean when the sperm first penetrates the outer wall of the egg, or the day or so later when the genetic material finally combines successfully) is the “start of human life”. To do so, convincingly, you need to prove that gametes do not meet the same requirements you are setting to define “human life.”

    So far you have the following requirements for it to be “human life”.

    1) Will, barring accidents of nature or the agency of men, continue developing into a fully developed human being.

    2) Has genetic uniqueness from the parent.

    Gametes meet each of those requirements. What else defines human life?

    You seem to want to just factually define, rather than qualitatively define, human life as starting at fertilization.

    But that’s no different than trying to factually define human life as beginning at birth or at gametogenesis, or during copulation. It would be, in essence, just a matter of definition.

    What you need to argue is that your definition better fits some criteria that are vitally important to what IS human life, over some other definition. Gametes meet the qualities you have defined.

    What other qualities, or aspects, does something have to have to make it human life other than the two I’ve listed above?

    “It’s all about who has the greater right. The mother, or the baby. That’s all you really can argue.”

    You can argue at what point that right begins. You’ve personally illustrated this by making that argument with me.

    You don’t think that gametes have a greater right than the parent, do you?

    “We can go round and round and round about when it becomes a human being, but science has already determined that.”

    Science has determined that human reproduction begins with gametogenesis, so you are correct that it has been determined.

    “What science CANNOT determine, is when that human being is afforded the right to CONTINUE being a human being.”

    Agreed. In a democracy, that’s up for the people as a collective to decide legal rights, and for individuals to question their conscience and determine their personal responsibilities.

    “Have you ever read Gonzales vs Carhart??? Do you understand the reasoning behind the abortion argument?”

    I haven’t read that, but I believe I do understand the mindset behind the abortion argument, yes. Or at least some of them.

    I certainly understand the pro-life argument, which is what we’re discussing now.

    “Dear God in Heaven, they spent hours determining if the unborn child gets the right to life when it is delivered up to the navel, or up to the neck. It’s insanity.”

    It’s the same sort of insanity that’s caused us to spend hours determining whether human life has a right to life when its a gamete or when the sperm reaches the outer wall of the egg, or when it penetrates, or when its genetic material successfully combines with the egg, and so on.

    The truth is simple. Human life is an unbroken chain between the parents and the child. It is a gradual and continual process, a process that flows from gametogenesis all the way until our children can have children of their own, and even beyond that.

    I mean, I see where you’re coming from with your argument.

    I’m just trying to point out how its a utilitarian and arbitrary “line” that you’re drawing. You’re not championing “the sanctity of human life” as you claim to be, even though you have convinced yourself that you are.

    I guess that’s not insanity, and honestly, I don’t mean to demean you by pointing this out, and please don’t take this the wrong way (since you’ve been kind enough to try to explain your case to me for as long as you have) but while its probably not “insane” it seems to me that you’re being self-delusional about the facts, for whatever reason.

    I have the urge to speculate as to that reason, but I won’t. If you have a self-critical eye, you might be able to offer speculation as to why that might be, but I don’t want to stir up a hornets nest at this point in the conversation by doing so myself.

    “The only real decision that has to be made is Does an unborn child have the same rights as it’s mother while it is still in the womb. It has nothing to do with whether or not it is a living human being, and everything to do with where that human being is residing. It’s that cold.”

    It is pretty cold. It’s a really harsh, really emotionally charged issue, and its very complicated. And, as I’ve listed above, there are many reasons beyond ‘sanctity of human life’ why there shouldn’t be abortions.

    I want to remind you, and anyone else who might be masochistic enough to have followed this rambling debate, that the whole motivation for this debate is the dire and heavy weight of this issue, and how we have to be very sensitive when framing the actual terms of the disagreement.

    Why would I argue against your motivation for being against abortion, when I have already admitted to several OTHER reasons (which I believe to be valid) to be against it?

    Because your motivation, and your method, of arguing frames the debate, falsely, as a battle of good and evil. You as the righteous champions of human life in its most simplest and innocent forms, and them as the scornful wicked opposition, championing evil acts of murder and violence against pure and beautiful human life.

    It is, as I have argued at the start of this debate, this very demonization, this “black and white” cause of yours, that bears the heavy weight of personal responsibility on your shoulders. My grandfathers, my uncle, my father all fought, and killed, to champion causes that were not even as holy and righteous as the one you have proclaimed. It is no wonder that someone has killed to champion yours.

    Even if your cause was truly righteous and just, the weight of this responsibility would still be upon you. However, if that were the case, I have asserted, then Scott Roeder would not be a “villain”, he would be a hero.

    Sadly, that is not true. Scott Roeder murdered a man over a complicated moral and ethical issue, because he was led to believe, by people like yourself, that this was a black-and-white good-versus-evil cause.

    He did not understand or was not capable of understanding the sanctity of ALL human life in the eyes of your God, or maybe he decided, for whatever reason, that his own damnation would be a worthwhile sacrifice. Or maybe he was one of those people who used theological loopholes to justify what he did.

    Or he could have just been a lone psychopath, focusing his violent urges on the worst “evil-doer” he could find. I’ve read up on him, though, and he doesn’t quite seem like a psychopath to me. Just a particularly fanatic champion of the anti-abortion (i won’t say pro-life, since, you know, he killed someone) cause.

    It likely was because the cause was framed in such extreme and black-and-white shades that he did what he did.

    And that is, in fact, your personal responsibility, and the responsibility of the entire religious pro-life movement.

  99. EclecticGuru
    June 5th, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

    I’m sorry, I got muddled up in the course of my ramblingness. The following reference to “diploid” cells should actually be “haploid.”

    — Incorrect Original version —

    A diploid cell, by the way, fits that same criteria.

    So that “fact” isn’t true either.

    Science shows that two diploid cells, when following the course of the natural and healthy reproductive cycle, and assuming no accidents of nature, becomes A FERTILIZED EGG. Sperm, and eggs, are created in a process known as GAMETOGENESIS and it is in THAT MAGIC MOMENT that the genetic uniqueness of a NEW human life is determined. The dice are rolled, for the first time, THEN.

    — Correct Edited Version —

    A haploid cell, by the way, fits that same criteria.

    So that “fact” isn’t true either.

    Science shows that two haploid cells, when following the course of the natural and healthy reproductive cycle, and assuming no accidents of nature, becomes A FERTILIZED EGG. Sperm, and eggs, are created in a process known as GAMETOGENESIS and it is in THAT MAGIC MOMENT that the genetic uniqueness of a NEW human life is determined. The dice are rolled, for the first time, THEN.

  100. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

    Listen to me again.

    Not every fertilized egg continues growing into a child.

    Are you being obtuse? Or are you not reading what I’m saying?

    LISTEN TO ME…AGAIN.

    No One, least of all me is arguing that things go WRONG. But when they go RIGHT, the egg will live a long and happy life.

    If it doesn’t make it to birth, then something in nature has gone WRONG…

    Natural LAW is not the same as “natural”…

    I can’t keep saying the same things over and over because I’m growing impatient. 4 days later and you haven’t heard a word I’ve said…

    When a car company builds a car, it is SUPPOSED to run. If it doesn’t then it is not doing what it is SUPPOSED to do.

    If it does run, then it IS doing what it is SUPPOSED to do.

    If an egg is fertilized and does NOT make it to birth, then it is not doing what it is SUPPOSED to do. If it does make it to birth then it IS doing what it is SUPPOSED to do. This means it is following the LAWS of NATURE.

    When nature fails, it is still a natural ocurrence. By definition, if it takes place in nature and happens without artificial interference, it is natural. But that does not mean that it is following NATURAL LAW.

  101. EclecticGuru
    June 5th, 2009 @ 3:08 pm

    I understand, MK! I’m not obtuse.

    What are a sperm or egg “supposed” to do?

    If they’re not naturally supposed to become a child, then are you saying its a supernatural miracle that causes them to interact the way they do?

    Is it god, or nature, guiding that sperm to the egg?

    The sperm actually seeks out the egg.

    oh for crying out loud.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030203071703.htm

    Look, the sperm doesn’t “stumble” across the egg. It seeks the egg out. And the egg doesn’t just “sit there” waiting for the sperm to find it, it sends out a chemical attractant.

    Is there something you don’t understand about that?

    Just as the fertilized egg is “designed” to become a child, so too are the sperm and the egg.

  102. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

    Science has determined that human reproduction begins with gametogenesis, so you are correct that it has been determined.

    Do you just like using the words gametogenesis and diploid or do you have an actual purpose? Human reproduction is not the same as LIFE! Duh.

    If you think that it is, seriously believe that a new life and reproductive processes are the same thing, then I throw my hands up.

    To address this question scientifically, we need to rely on sound scientific argument and on the factual evidence. Scientists make distinctions between different cell types (for example, sperm, egg and the cell they produce at fertilization) based on two simple criteria: Cells are known to be different because they are made of different components and because they behave in distinct ways.

    These two criteria are used throughout the scientific enterprise to distinguish one cell type from another, and they are the basis of all scientific (as opposed to arbitrary, faith-based or political) distinctions. I have applied these two criteria to the scientific data concerning fertilization, and they are the basis for the conclusion that a new human organism comes into existence at the moment of sperm-egg fusion.

    Q: Many in the scientific world would say that fertilization doesn’t happen in a moment, but rather that it is a process that comes to an end at the end of the first cell cycle, which is 24 hours later. Why is it important to define a “moment of conception,” as opposed to a “process of fertilization”?

    Condic: It is not important to somehow define a “moment” or a “process” of fertilization in the abstract. It is important to base conclusions and judgments about human embryos on sound scientific reasoning and on the best available scientific evidence.

    Had this analysis led to a different conclusion — for example, that fertilization is a “process” — I would have accepted this conclusion as scientifically valid. However, a scientific analysis of the best available data does not support the conclusion that fertilization is a “process”; it supports the conclusion that fertilization is an event that takes less than a second to complete.

    The events of the first 24 hours following sperm-egg fusion are clearly unique, but they are also clearly acts of a human organism, not acts of a mere human cell.

    and

    That is not to say that the scientific facts lend equal support to any and all views of when human life begins. While people are free to formulate their opinion on when human life begins in any manner they choose (including belief and politics), not all opinions are equally consistent with factual reality. Those who choose to ignore the facts cannot expect their opinions to garner as much respect or to be given as much credibility as those who base their opinions in sound scientific observation and analysis.

    The opinions of members of the flat-Earth society should not carry as much weight as those of astrophysicists in formulating national aerospace policy. The opinions of those who reject the scientific evidence concerning when life begins should not be the basis of public policy on embryo-related topics, either.

    http://www.zenit.org/article-24184?l=english

  103. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

    How is it pseudo-science and obfuscation? Point out where my facts, or logic, are wrong or misleading. To get to the crux of this issue, explain, logically or factually, how a fertilized egg (and decide whether you mean when the sperm first penetrates the outer wall of the egg, or the day or so later when the genetic material finally combines successfully) is the “start of human life”. To do so, convincingly, you need to prove that gametes do not meet the same requirements you are setting to define “human life.”

    Gametes are whats.
    Fertilized eggs are who.

    That’s all I can tell you. If you can’t accept facts, then this conversation is useless.

    I have already, more than once, said that sperm are alive. And that they are part of the human. But while they might be “human” life, they are not “HUMANS”. Honestly, this isn’t hard.

    Fingernails, unfertilized eggs, eyelashes, teeth…these are all “part” of a human being, but they are not HUMAN.

    Read CAREFULLY comment #102.

  104. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

    Just as the fertilized egg is “designed” to become a child, so too are the sperm and the egg.

    NO! The sperm is designed to find the egg. The egg is designed to accept the sperm. Neither is designed to be a child on it’s own.

    If EVERY sperm was designed to find an egg EVERY SINGLE TIME, then woman would release as many eggs as a man does sperm every time a man ejaculated into her…EVERY TIME!

    But nature isn’t designed that way. Men ejaculate MILLIONS of sperm, which compete to meet ONE egg. We were designed so that MOST sperm are wasted! We are designed so that MOST egg do NOT become fertilized.

    We are also designed so that MOST fertilized eggs continue developing…

    Surely you don’t believe otherwise?

    Answer me this. If an egg and a sperm unite, do they continue to be an egg and a sperm? Or do they become something “else”…

  105. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

    “You’re going to seriously argue that sentience is a criteria for a right to life? You’re going to tell me that you must be conscious, self aware? So what, every person in a coma ceases to be a human being, but if they come out of the coma they magically become a human being again?”

    This is a strawman argument.

    Exactly, so why did you bring it up?

    Here is what you said:

    I’m fine with that. However, it is equally valid for someone to say that a fetus isn’t a human being until it has a fully developed brain.

  106. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

    Q: Many in the scientific world would say that fertilization doesn’t happen in a moment, but rather that it is a process that comes to an end at the end of the first cell cycle, which is 24 hours later. Why is it important to define a “moment of conception,” as opposed to a “process of fertilization”?

    Condic: It is not important to somehow define a “moment” or a “process” of fertilization in the abstract. It is important to base conclusions and judgments about human embryos on sound scientific reasoning and on the best available scientific evidence.

    Had this analysis led to a different conclusion — for example, that fertilization is a “process” — I would have accepted this conclusion as scientifically valid. However, a scientific analysis of the best available data does not support the conclusion that fertilization is a “process”; it supports the conclusion that fertilization is an event that takes less than a second to complete.

    http://www.zenit.org/article-24184?l=english

  107. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

    It’s the same sort of insanity that’s caused us to spend hours determining whether human life has a right to life when its a gamete or when the sperm reaches the outer wall of the egg, or when it penetrates, or when its genetic material successfully combines with the egg, and so on.

    We have not yet ONCE debated over when a human being has the right to life. You’re still trying to argue that the baby a woman is carrying actually began 400 years ago.

    I should be in jail a thousand times over for all of the eggs I haven’t allowed to be fertilized. And YOU, if what you said about your fixation with masturbation is true, I fear the death penalty might come into play.

    Which is obviously a joke. Why? Because anyone with an ounce of sense knows that there is a difference between a sperm and an egg and a spermandanegg.

    sperm…what
    egg…what
    egg fertilized by sperm…who

  108. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

    It’s a really harsh, really emotionally charged issue, and its very complicated. And, as I’ve listed above, there are many reasons beyond ’sanctity of human life’ why there shouldn’t be abortions.

    And there are many reasons why I shouldn’t eat arsenic in large doses. It’s hard to get. It tastes bad. It’s illegal. But those are kind of silly sounding compared to “IT WILL KILL YOU”.

  109. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 3:43 pm

    Because your motivation, and your method, of arguing frames the debate, falsely, as a battle of good and evil. You as the righteous champions of human life in its most simplest and innocent forms, and them as the scornful wicked opposition, championing evil acts of murder and violence against pure and beautiful human life.

    Well that was a pretty tricky bit of mind reading right there, considering I’ve never given you a single argument against abortion. You’ve never asked. You keep telling ME what I think, but you’ve never once asked why I think abortion is wrong. Heck, you’ve never even asked me if I THINK abortion is wrong. And I’ve never asked you. Why? Because so far this conversation has been about when life begins. Once we agree on that, we can move on to the part about when it should be protected.

    Until, please quit telling me that I’m a self righteous witch that thinks the pro choice people are evil. Not only haven’t I said that, but I wrote an entire post delcaring that I DO NOT think this way…perhaps you missed it.

  110. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

    He did not understand or was not capable of understanding the sanctity of ALL human life in the eyes of your God, or maybe he decided, for whatever reason, that his own damnation would be a worthwhile sacrifice. Or maybe he was one of those people who used theological loopholes to justify what he did.

    So let me understand what you are saying. On every issue where I take a moral stand…say pedophilia…and my church takes the same stand…I, personally am responsible for some nutcase that decides to kill a pedophile? Because he might have misunderstood my stance on pedophilia, or worse yet, because he DID understand it?

    Really? You honestly believe that? That anyone that holds a moral view, is responsible for every person that might act immorally against someone that breaks my moral code?

    You sound a little nuts yerself…imho.

  111. Darwin_Rules
    June 5th, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

    Hi MK. I am just wondering what it is like to have two rectums because from what I have read Eclectic has just torn you a new one!

  112. Darwin_Rules
    June 5th, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

    By the way, how many “pro life” people support the death penalty? If there are any of you here can you explain that dichotomy without looking like a fool?

  113. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

    Uh Darwin,

    While I am thrilled that you felt compelled to join the conversation…This is Friday. The third grade class meets on Tuesdays. Should I send a note home to your mom?

    If you ask very nicely, I would be happy to explain why SOME (I happen to not be one of them) pro lifers can be for the death penalty. The Catholic Church does not condone the death penalty. I do not condone the death penalty. However, the difference between a criminal and a vulnerable child whose only crime was the unfortunate luck to be in a mother who hates it, should be obvious even to you… ;)

  114. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

    And Darwin, to answer your question…two rectums in the right place beat Sh*t for brains any day.

  115. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

    EG,

    I have a new tactic. I am no science student, so I will be forced to use laymens terms, and I needed my 6th graders help to do that.

    If you take lettuce and put it in a bowl, add tomatoes, onions, maybe some cheese, croutons and olives, you will have what is known as a salad. Each of those ingredients however stands on it’s own. They can also be taken out one by one, and you will no longer have a salad, but a mess.

    If you take milk however, and add chocolate to it, shaking it up, you will now have Chocolate Milk. You can not take the chocolate out of it.

    Or lets use a cake. Once a cake is baked (fertilization) you can no longer recognize the “parts” that went into, let alone extract them. It is something new. It is no longer flour and eggs and water and oil and sugar and baking soda. It is now “a cake”.

    If you take a sperm and an egg and you put them together, you no longer have a sperm and an egg, you have a new life.

    This, if my daughter is correct, the difference between a compound and a mixture.

    A baby is a compound. Sperm in a tissue place on an egg in a tampon is a mixture.

  116. Darwin_Rules
    June 5th, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

    Nice way to avoid the question mk. Don’t worry if you cannot, nobody can because if life is so sacred then there is no way to justify it, and also if you think abortion is really murder how can you just sit around and ignore it? You never answered this before did you to eclectic? If I knew that there was a “clinic” down the street where every day children get murdered then hells yeah I would burn it to the ground even if I get caught it would still be worth it. Even if only one child is saved from murder it would be the right thing to do.

    and third grade class is not the place for me, but as a catholic you might like it for masturbation excitement

  117. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

    If I knew that there was a “clinic” down the street where every day children get murdered then hells yeah I would burn it to the ground even if I get caught it would still be worth it. Even if only one child is saved from murder it would be the right thing to do.</i.

    Yes, I believe you would. You would also come onto a website and try to start a fight. And you would use “shock” to get attention. I’m sure there is a whole lot of things you would do, that decent people wouldn’t.

    I did answer you question. Perhaps third grade is too advanced?

  118. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 5:04 pm

    Tell me DarDar,

    If you ask very nicely, I would be happy to explain why SOME (I happen to not be one of them) pro lifers can be for the death penalty. The Catholic Church does not condone the death penalty. I do not condone the death penalty. However, the difference between a criminal and a vulnerable child whose only crime was the unfortunate luck to be in a mother who hates it, should be obvious even to you…

    Which part of that explanation flummoxed you? Perhaps if I spoke more slowly? Or used language that you are more accustomed to? A few more four letter words and references to bodily functions?

  119. Darwin_Rules
    June 5th, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

    then please do explain because obviously I cannot understand

  120. Lily
    June 5th, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

    Poor mk! Told ya so. There is no reward in trying to talk sense to someone who isn’t interested in anything but forcing you to see things his way. It never pays to continue to repeat yourself to someone who will accept nothing less than your total agreement. He may “understand where you are coming from”; but he wants you to realize that you are wrong no matter how much science you have on your side; no matter how carefully you explain it to him. He can’t just back off and agree to disagree. You must surrender, Dorothy!

    Now we have a troll named, Durwood? Darla? who thinks: a. that he has something of value to say, b. that his charges (they sure aren’t questions) are new, c. that he is entitled to an answer just because he chooses to spew vulgarities on a blog and d. that he is going to be rewarded with another 119 messages.

    I dunno, mk. He has already admitted to stupidity (not that he needed to; it was obvious). It is merely another testosterone-fueled atheist Internet warrior bellowing the truth (“truth”? what’s that?) no matter how hard it is; no matter how dangerous. The bravery! Surely, if nothing else moves us, we must be moved by how much courage it takes to come here and spew vulgarities to power!

  121. Darwin_Rules
    June 5th, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

    so you prefer to ad hominim attack me but not to answer my question. I asked politely and said please but the silence, it is deafening. Is this maybe because you have no answer…..

  122. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

    Darwin,

    No, it is because I was goofin’ off and playin’ a game…

    Thank you very much for asking respectfully. Seriously, there are reasons. As I said, I agree with you in that I am hard pressed to call myself pro life and not mean it across the board. But the reason I believe the death penalty is wrong is where you and I will part ways. I believe that ever human being has until the very last second to repent, ask forgiveness and be welcomed home. We have a saying in the Catholic Church. The two most important times in a person’s life are: now. And at the hour of our death. Those are the two times where we can choose our eternity, and to to kill a man, is to take away the chance for a change of heart, otherwise known as a conversion. I believe that God gives life, and that He and only He, except under very specific circumstances, has the right to take it away.

    That said, you (not I, but others) can still be pro life and accept the death penalty. In one case, the person being killed has committed an horrendous deed, something so vile, that only death will bring justice. As a Catholic, I leave justice up to God, and follow the path of Mercy. If I am merciful, I am told, then Mercy will be shown to me, and God knows I need it. The amount of Mercy that I show, is the amount of Mercy I will be shown.

    An unborn child, on the other hand has done nothing to deserve death, and therefore, taking it’s life is not justice, but injustice. And it most certainly is NOT mercy. Again, the only crime an unborn child has committed, is that it is living inside of a woman who hates it. It has done nothing wrong, hence the phrase, innocent human life.

    Mercy is NOT giving someone what he deserves. Justice is giving them what they deserve. Justice can be good, if you deserve good. An innocent child deserves good, because it is good. Justice says that it’s life cannot be taken. Justice can be unpleasant if what you deserve is punishment. A criminal deserves punishment, yes even death.

    So it is possible to be pro life, and still believe that someone can “deserve” to die. You just don’t believe that an innocent, unborn child is that someone.

  123. MK
    June 5th, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

    Darwin,

    These conversations usually go on for days. I’m signing off now, but will check for your response in the a.m…I am an early riser, thus an early retirer.(is that a word?)

    I hope we can continue this conversation. As long as you ask respectfully, I will answer ANY question(s) you have, no matter how long it takes. ‘Kay?

  124. EclecticGuru
    June 6th, 2009 @ 6:09 am

    MK,

    I’m not going to address each of our little “minidebates” as I think they’ve grown kind of onerous and the whole flow of the discussion is being sucked down into the resulting maelstrom.

    “If you think that it is, seriously believe that a new life and reproductive processes are the same thing, then I throw my hands up.”

    Yeah, basically — though I actually don’t see any point where can easily define the “start” of a new life, as it is a smooth and continuous metabolic process that flows from the parents to the new individual becoming more and more “individual” along the way.

    I subscribe to the METABOLIC view of human life as opposed to the GENETIC view, which is the one that the doctor you were quoting uses to support her case on that catholic website you linked us to.

    There are arguments for and against the metabolic view.

    There are arguments for and against the genetic view.

    The metabolic view requires a non-genetic, metabolic definition of what it is to be “human.” It seems intuitive to me, since sperm and eggs, which each have only one copy of each of the 23 chromosomes, are clearly human — they’re not some other species of cell.

    The genetic view is another way of looking at the same issue. Its intuitive because most of our cells do indeed have 46 chromosomes, and we’re fully developed individual humans, so that which is human must also have 46 chromosomes.

    I think its equal to saying that since individual humans each have two arms and two legs, that point in development that a human becomes an individual is when it also has two arms and two legs. But whatever. It’s an argument, and I don’t like it, but you don’t like mine either, so fine. We disagree — and the crux is over whether a cell has to have both pairs of each chromosome or just a single one, to be both “unique” and “human”.

    I do not, however, begrudge you your viewpoint, nor will I demonize you for thinking differently, since, obviously, there are many people who share your views on the subject.

    I wish you could accept my alternative viewpoint as valid (or even rational), but I didn’t really expect to change any religious pro-life viewpoints — still, even an atheist can hope for a miracle now and then! I’m sure you feel similarly, otherwise you wouldn’t have gone on as long as you have.

    I’m compelled to reiterate my POV one last time, in completeness, not in the hopes that you’ll rebutt it, but just to make myself clear where I’m coming from. You’re welcome to have the last word, whether you decide to use it in attempt to tear apart my premises or logic, I’m done defending them. I’ve done, from my admitted slanted point of view, a very solid, if not insurmountable, job of doing so already, but its clear you disagree!

    1. Black-and-white, good vs evil causes, such as the one framed by the religious pro-life movement can reasonably be expected to provoke extreme behavior, violence included

    Some random guy helped illustrate the “violence even from pro-lifers” point for me very well by threatening to knock my teeth in for being vulgar and rude — baby killing would probably inspire a lot more passion.

    I think even, toward the top of this thread, some other person linked to a post about how abortionists have it coming or something like that, I didn’t really read the whole thing.

    Anyway, I’m solid on this one, since a pro-lifer killed that dude that RT didn’t kill and about which RT is offended by the POTUS “lecturing” him personally.

    2. If someone champions your cause, you are morally responsible if that individual acts in an appropriate manner according to the seriousness of your cause. For example, if someone is murdering children and you decry that practice, and someone uses force to stop that practice. You can, partially, defer that moral responsibility by decrying certain tactics (for example, saying that you think all life is sacred, and even baby killers don’t deserve to die) but you cannot complete abrogate it.

    3. If you portray a cause in an unfair manner, that is to say — if I were to go to a person and tell them that some guy is committing baby murder, when in fact all they are doing is using spermicidal gel during sex, and if that person champions my cause and shoots the guy before he can strike again, then I am causing a grievous amount of harm to both parties involved.

    4. The religious pro-life cause is portrayed as a black-and-white, good vs. evil cause.

    5. In actuality, the issue is complicated and the many conflicting views are rational and reasonable and that rather than requiring a “black and white” solution, instead a compromise of utility is more appropriate.

    6. Various reasons why the issue is complicated and not black and white — blah blah blah masturbation blah blah blah gametogenesis blah blah blah metabolic vs. genetic blah blah blah chromosomes blah blah blah smooth and continuous development blah blah blah arbitrary “lines” defined by people.

    7. Therefore it is fair for anyone to question the religious pro-life movement on a moral and ethical level.

    There were some odd detours in there, and some distractions and red herrings, but that about sums it up.

    Take it or leave it.

    I’ll watch the thread probably, to see if someone else jumps in to take it or what not, but I’ve made my argument, and its on its own now, no more defending from me — for now.

    Try to keep an open mind, your God will forgive you! And don’t worry about accidentally becoming an evil atheist if you start opening your mind to other viewpoints — as RA/RT has shown, you can always go back. :)

  125. EclecticGuru
    June 6th, 2009 @ 6:36 am

    “Poor mk! Told ya so. There is no reward in trying to talk sense to someone who isn’t interested in anything but forcing you to see things his way. It never pays to continue to repeat yourself to someone who will accept nothing less than your total agreement. He may “understand where you are coming from”; but he wants you to realize that you are wrong no matter how much science you have on your side; no matter how carefully you explain it to him. He can’t just back off and agree to disagree. You must surrender, Dorothy!”

    PS: You just earned yourself the “Crazy Bitch” title, wear it with pride should you choose to do so, Lily.

  126. MK
    June 6th, 2009 @ 9:45 am

    . If someone champions your cause, you are morally responsible if that individual acts in an appropriate manner according to the seriousness of your cause. For example, if someone is murdering children and you decry that practice, and someone uses force to stop that practice. You can, partially, defer that moral responsibility by decrying certain tactics (for example, saying that you think all life is sacred, and even baby killers don’t deserve to die) but you cannot complete abrogate it.

    Final word?

    Rubbish.

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