16 Arguments Against Abortion, with Rebuttals (Part 2)

Atheism and Christianity discussionHere are the remaining arguments against abortion, with rebuttals. See part 1 here.

10. Why is murder wrong? Because it takes away a future like mine. If we found intelligent humanoids like us on another planet, killing them for sport would be wrong for this reason. And this is why abortion is wrong—it takes away a future like mine. This is Glenn Peoples’ Argument from the Future (podcast episode #29, 8/3/09).

Why focus on the future? Assuming these humanoids are largely unchanging month to month, like people, killing them for sport takes away a present like mine. I assume that Peoples focuses on the future only because he has no argument otherwise.

But let’s take the path that Peoples points us to. Killing a fetus would deprive it of a future like mine, but so would killing a single skin cell, once they are clonable into humans. Would it then a crime to scratch your skin? Or, let’s take it further back. Suppose I have two kids. Was it criminal to not have three? Or four? Or fifteen? I’ve deprived those people-to-be of life.

Extrapolating back to the twinkle in my eye, saying that we have a person deserving of life at every step is ridiculous. But the facts fit neatly and logically into the spectrum argument.

11. But a fetus has a soul! Does it? If the zygote has a soul and then it splits into twins, does each twin have half a soul or do they get another one as needed or did they get two to begin with? What about conjoined twins? Do they share a single soul like a shared body part? What about babies with terrible birth defects that leave them with very little brain function? What about a person cloned from a cell—would they have a soul? And if the story for the soul has a happy ending for the 50% of pregnancies that end in spontaneous (natural) abortion, why not for an artificial abortion?

This mess vanishes if we don’t insist on a soul. As Daniel Dennett said, “What isn’t there doesn’t have to be explained.”

12. “Abortion is much more serious than killing an adult. An adult may or may not be an innocent, but an unborn child is most definitely innocent.” These are the words of an archbishop from Brazil. He was outraged at the abortion done on a nine-year-old girl, raped and impregnated by her stepfather. In response to the abortion, the church excommunicated the family of the girl and the doctors who performed the abortion.

Wow. Let’s leave this example of how religion makes you do crazy things and focus on the claim. First, a fetus is not a child. Second, the spectrum argument defeats this claim.

Variations on this argument are popular, and they all have pretty much the same response. Here are a few.

12a. Abortion kills a human life (at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy) to help with another human’s self-actualization (higher on the hierarchy). That’s the opposite of the way it’s supposed to work. The two “human lives” are not comparable. This ignores the spectrum of development from single cell to trillion-cell newborn.

Killing a blastocyst with fewer cells than the brain of the fly troubles me less than killing a civilian in another country due to war or killing a criminal on death row.

12b. Don’t we normally go out of our way to defend the defenseless? Again, this ignores the spectrum. Defenseless people are more important than defenseless cells.

12c. Haven’t we been through this with racial minorities? Declaring that single cells aren’t human is like declaring that African-Americans aren’t human. Nice try. Spectrum argument.

12d. In response to your abortion clinic example: you argue that, if given a choice between saving a child and ten frozen embryos, you’d save the child. Okay, and if given the choice between your wife and a stranger, you’d save your wife, but that doesn’t mean that you can kill strangers. Spectrum argument.

13. Haven’t you heard of adoption? That’s the answer to an unplanned pregnancy. No, it’s clearly not the answer. Two percent of all births to unmarried women in the U.S. are placed for adoption. “Just have the baby and release it for adoption” is a pat on the head. It might make you feel good, but it doesn’t work.

14. You say that a trillion cells is definitely a person. Okay, how about a trillion minus one—is that a person? And if so, how about a trillion minus two? And so on. This same game could be played with the blue/green spectrum. If this color is “green,” what about just a touch more blue—isn’t that green as well? The point remains that the two ends of the spectrum are very different—green is not blue! Similarly, a single cell is not a newborn with arms, legs, kidneys, brain, and so on.

15. The woman who got pregnant knew what she was doing. Let’s encourage people to take responsibility for their actions. She didn’t necessarily know what she was doing—sex education is so poor that many teens become sexually mature without understanding what causes what.

But let’s assume that the woman knew what she was doing and was careless or stupid. What do we do with this? When someone shoots himself accidentally, that was stupid, but we all pay for the medical and insurance system that puts them back together. Let’s educate people, demand responsibility, and have a harm-reduction approach where we find the best resolution of problem. For a woman whose life would be overturned with a pregnancy, that resolution might be abortion.

16. If you’re so smart, where do you draw the line? I don’t. I find that pro-life advocates quickly turn the conversation to the definition of the OK/not-OK line for abortion, hoping to find something to criticize. I avoid this, both because it diverts attention from the spectrum argument—the main point I want to make—and because I have no opinion about the line and am happy to leave it up to the experts.

Barack Obama answered that question, “That’s above my pay grade,” which satisfies me, since he was running for Commander-in-chief, not Obstetrician-in-chief.

Next time: 5 Recommendations to the Pro-Life Movement

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91 thoughts on “16 Arguments Against Abortion, with Rebuttals (Part 2)

  1. Bob,

    So much silliness, so little value in responding. Your number 11 is a case in point. You now try to equate each cell in the body with a potential human zygote. Way to confuse the issue. I thought you were trying to clarify it? By this logic, as you say, every time you take a shower you are guilty of murder, which is clearly not on anyone’s top ten list for compelling arguments to be worried about.

    Abortion, on the other hand, is on that list. Your spectrum argument and dismissal of the seriousness of where the line is that must not be crossed is typical of your dodging of the real issues. By considering the line above his pay grade, President Obama drew the line at a point where many viable babies are killed. So while not making the call, he effectively did make the call. That is the same thing you are doing by shirking the responsibility to consider the ramifications of your choice to support abortion without limits of any kind that you are willing to define.

    Sometimes, even not making a decision makes a decision. You need to deal with it and not wash your hands and say, “I refuse to define where we ought to draw the line in acceptable termination of the fetus.” Be bold. Be decisive and tell us what you would do if it were your kids coming to you and asking for your input on such a decision. That is where the rubber meets the road in real life.

    • Your number 11 is a case in point. You now try to equate each cell in the body with a potential human zygote. Way to confuse the issue.

      I am indeed confused. My point #11 was about the soul. Are we talking about the same thing?

      Your spectrum argument and dismissal of the seriousness of where the line is that must not be crossed is typical of your dodging of the real issues.

      You’ve done nothing to educate me about how the spectrum argument is irrelevant for seeing the issue. As for issues I’ve “dodged,” let me make the big confession. I’ve not squarely addressed where the line for abortion should be, steps toward fixing the national debt, global warming, and whether I favor the Patriots or the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. That’s because these are all separate issues to the main one I’m advancing, the spectrum argument. Indeed, painting this as me “dodging” an issue seems like simply a way for you to dodge the main point that I’m making, spectrum argument.

      So while not making the call, he effectively did make the call.

      Right. He acknowledged that he didn’t know everything and that those with true expertise (perhaps obstetricians, biologists, or ethicists) should decide this important question. Works for me.

      Sometimes, even not making a decision makes a decision.

      What decision am I missing? I proudly and boldly declare: I support Roe v. Wade, and I’ll let the various state and federal governments do their job in regulating abortion. I thought that was obvious, but thanks for the opportunity to make things clear.

      Be decisive and tell us what you would do if it were your kids coming to you and asking for your input on such a decision.

      You need an abortion? Go for it.

  2. Reference Bob’s comment, “My point #11 was about the soul. Are we talking about the same thing?”
    Agreed. And you confused the idea by interjecting dead skin cells.

    Reference Bob’s comment, ” As for issues I’ve “dodged,” let me make the big confession. I’ve not squarely addressed where the line for abortion should be, steps toward fixing the national debt, global warming, and whether I favor the Patriots or the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.”
    Only one of these topics is relevant to this discussion. This comment clouds the issue further. How about “clear thinking about…” Well, never mind.

    Reference Bob’s comment, “…these are all separate issues to the main one I’m advancing, the spectrum argument. Indeed, painting this as me “dodging” an issue seems like simply a way for you to dodge the main point that I’m making, spectrum argument.”
    And my non-dodge response is that the spectrum issue masks the responsibility to make real life tough calls on the issue of life and where it starts.

    Reference Bob’s comment, “He acknowledged that he didn’t know everything and that those with true expertise (perhaps obstetricians, biologists, or ethicists) should decide this important question. Works for me.”
    How about letting folks who deal with morality for a living weigh in? That would be folks who believe in absolute truth, as well as “ethicists,” (wherever they get their TRUTH concepts from.) Maybe Christians and pastors? Nah. Couldn’t let THEM have a voice in this conversation! (As in, you didn’t include them as having a valid place at the table.)

    Reference Bob’s comment, “What decision am I missing? I proudly and boldly declare: I support Roe v. Wade, and I’ll let the various state and federal governments do their job in regulating abortion. I thought that was obvious, but thanks for the opportunity to make things clear… You need an abortion? Go for it.”

    Thanks for this clarification. That means you are under all conditions in favor of legal abortion right up to viability and to first breath.

    I am assuming you would draw a line there, but if not feel free to let me know that you are OK with killing the baby outside the womb as well as doing so inside the womb for a fully viable human being who happens to be (unfortunately for the baby) located 12 inches too far up the birth canal.

    If my assumption is correct, then you have indeed fully disclosed your position. So have I. The spectrum argument allows killing human life, and I am opposed to that. So now we are both clearly on record, OK?

    • Agreed. And you confused the idea by interjecting dead skin cells.

      I’m still confused, but let’s see what we can make of this.

      Point 10 (not 11) talked about skin cells. And not dead ones–you couldn’t clone those.

      Sounds like we agree that at the extreme end of the spectrum–that is, going beyond the single fertilized egg cell to the living skin cell that could be cloned into a single totipotent cell that could grow into a new person, we’ve left personhood far behind. All I’m saying with the spectrum argument is that the single fertilized egg cell is far more like that single living skin cell than a newborn baby.

      Only one of these topics is relevant to this discussion.

      And I admit that I have little to add to the conversation on this topic.

      And my non-dodge response is that the spectrum issue masks the responsibility to make real life tough calls on the issue of life and where it starts.

      (1) That’s about the clearest dodge I think I’ve ever seen! And BTW, you have lots of company. This refusal to squarely address this issue is a common response by the Christians I’ve discussed this with.

      (2) With your continued flogging of the issue of where the OK/not-OK line is for abortion, you admit that you’d rather turn the conversation to a new field where you feel you are likelier to win. Since I simply have nothing to offer on the subject of where to draw the line (sorry), all I care to discuss is the spectrum argument.

      (Other arguments I have nothing to say on include the Patriots/Giants Super Bowl question. You gonna tell me I’m dodging another uncomfortable issue there, too?)

      Maybe Christians and pastors? Nah. Couldn’t let THEM have a voice in this conversation!

      If only they would! I’d be interested to hear their reaction to the spectrum argument.

      Thanks for this clarification. That means you are under all conditions in favor of legal abortion right up to viability and to first breath.

      Perhaps you skipped over what I actually said. “I’ll let the various state and federal governments do their job in regulating abortion.” I’m pretty sure first breath isn’t where the law is.

      I am assuming you would draw a line there, but if not feel free to let me know that you are OK with killing the baby outside the womb as well as doing so inside the womb for a fully viable human being who happens to be (unfortunately for the baby) located 12 inches too far up the birth canal.

      As hopefully now is clear, no I wouldn’t. How about you? Are you OK with capital punishment?

      The spectrum argument allows killing human life

      The spectrum argument allows killing cells. Why–does that trouble you?

  3. Pingback: Why is it Always Men Advancing the Pro-Life Position? | | Cross ExaminedCross Examined

  4. Pingback: A Defense of Abortion Rights: the Spectrum Argument | | Cross ExaminedCross Examined

  5. Pingback: 16 Arguments Against Abortion, with Rebuttals | | Cross ExaminedCross Examined

  6. SLED argument refutes Bob’s sectrum nonsense
    An interesting argument for the pro-life movement and there is an acronym being used called SLED. The logic used really makes a whole lot of sense to me. There are basically four attributes that are different for a baby inside the womb from a baby outside the womb:

    The following describes each letter in the acronym (Notice that none of them are religious-based points):

    1. Size or Physical Appearance – Do humans lose value when they don’t look right? Does size equal value? Men are generally larger than women. Does that mean men are more human than women? Shaquille O’Neil is larger than Hillary Clinton. Does that mean Hillary Clinton is less human than Shaq? The term used to describe the destruction of groups of people based on their physical appearance is ethnic cleansing or genocide. But human value transcends physical appearance. Therefore, “not looking right” cannot disqualify a human being from being valuable.

    2. Level of Development – Is a person’s value defined by his abilities, by what he can or can’t do? Do we forfeit our rights as human persons because we don’t have the capabilities others have? Do stronger, more capable, more intelligent people have more rights than others? Do human beings become disposable simply because at their level of development they are helpless, defenseless, and dependent? Human value transcends abilities or the lack of abilities. Therefore, missing abilities cannot disqualify human value.

    3. Environment – Do humans forfeit their worth when they change locations? Baby Rachel was born prematurely at 24 weeks. She weighed only 1 lb. 9 oz., but dropped to just under 1 lb. soon after. She was so small she could rest in the palm of her daddy’s hand. She was a tiny, living, person. Heroic measures were taken to save her life. If a doctor had killed Rachel we would have recoiled in horror. However, if this same little girl was inches away from the outside world, resting inside her mother’s womb, she could be legally killed by abortion. Clearly, one’s environment can’t be the deciding factor. Changing locations is morally trivial. Environment has no bearing on who we are.

    4. Degree of Dependency – Is human value determined by our degree of dependency on others? The unborn’s dependency on his mother for sustenance is irrelevant to the baby’s value. No baby is “viable” if degree of dependency matters. All babies need their mothers for feeding whether via blood (an umbilical cord), breast, or bottle. Human beings may be dependent on others for their survival, but they aren’t dependent on others for their value. All physically dependent people are at risk if degree of dependency determines their value – those dependent on kidney machines, pacemakers, and insulin would have to be declared non-persons. Dependency does not determine worth.

    http://www.frontlinemin.org/abortion.asp

    More interesting tidbits:

    Day 1 – Fertilization! All human chromosomes are present and a unique human life begins.

    Day 22 – The baby’s heart begins to beat with the child’s own blood – often a different blood type than the mother.

    Week 6 – At this stage, brain waves can be detected. The child’s mouth and lips are present and fingers are forming.

    Week 8 – At this stage, every organ is in place. Bones and unique fingerprints begin to form.

    Week 17 – The baby can now have dream (REM) sleep.

    Ø Since 1973 (when abortion was legalized in the U.S.) there have been more than 43 million abortions.

    Ø The annual number of abortions has nearly doubled since Roe v. Wade, from 744,600 to 1,313,300 for 2000.

    Ø For every 1000 live births, there are 306 abortions.

    Ø There are more than 140,000 second and third trimester abortions each year.

    After reaching a high of over 1.6 million in 1990, the number of abortions annually performed in the U.S. had begun to drop back to levels not seen since the 1970s. What follows is a simple outline to help you persuade other Americans to adopt a pro-life position in an effort to continue to bring down the number of abortions performed in the United States.

    • SLED argument refutes Bob’s sectrum nonsense

      I’m afraid you’re mistaken. The remains of your argument are in tatters below.

      Men are generally larger than women. Does that mean men are more human than women?

      Are you just not paying attention? Let’s imagine that a man is twice as large as a woman. Or, let’s imagine that an adult is 30 times larger than a newborn. That difference is trivial when we look at the spectrum that we’re actually talking about, with a single cell on one end and one trillion cells on the other. See the difference? One trillion is much, much, much bigger than 30.

      Or, if you really want to see the difference, a baby has pretty much the same parts as an adult (arms, legs, eyes, ears, and all that). But contrast the baby with a single cell!

      Seriously, it makes you look foolish when I’ve made these points before several times and you pretend like you never heard them before. I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but when we go over the same ground over and over, I wonder if you’re in the least bit open minded.

      Do stronger, more capable, more intelligent people have more rights than others?

      Wow. Been there; rebutted that.

      An 80-year-old man will have some physical decline—less strength, less mobility, and so on. Again, this loss is trivial compared to the delta between a newborn and a single cell.

      We could look at an extreme case—someone is brain-dead after an accident. Is that less of a person than a normal adult? Does he have fewer rights? Well, yeah. He might be taken off life support and allowed to die. And we would all agree that this person is a significant step below optimum.

      Do humans forfeit their worth when they change locations?

      I don’t see much of a point here.

      However, if this same little girl was inches away from the outside world, resting inside her mother’s womb, she could be legally killed by abortion.

      Does the mother want the baby? In that case, she won’t ask for an abortion but instead will rely on society helping her to bring the baby safely to term. Does she not? In that case, we give her a choice. You do see this enormous difference, right? Not every pregnancy will be wanted.

      Is human value determined by our degree of dependency on others?

      Uh, no, it’s the spectrum of development, like I’ve been trying to tell you.

      You’ve successfully bypassed my argument by not addressing it! You may think you’ve made a point, but as far as I can see, it stands unscathed.

      Day 1

      Day 22

      Yes, it’s a spectrum. I get it. Indeed, that’s what I’ve been arguing all this time.

      Since 1973 (when abortion was legalized in the U.S.) there have been more than 43 million abortions.

      I wonder how many fewer we would have if we had more effective sex education. Maybe we would be facing in the same direction (for a change) on this issue?

      The annual number of abortions has nearly doubled since Roe v. Wade, from 744,600 to 1,313,300 for 2000.

      If this bugs you so much, what are you doing to prevent the need for abortion? Wouldn’t that be an effective place to focus?

      There are more than 140,000 second and third trimester abortions each year.

      Ever research why? Or do you think it was mostly, “Eww! I look too fat!”?

  7. Refuting Non-Personhood Arguments – such arguments deny the intrinsic quality of human beings by falsely assuming (petitio principii) two components (body and person), instead of one. These are a play on Level of Development. Gently ask: “Would you be willing to undergo the same destruction of your body that is performed on the unborn during an abortion, and if not – why?” They can’t prove their own personhood without referring to their own physical body, so gently question them until they do. We know scientifically from the moment of conception the pre-born also has a human body. We can’t establish tests for denying the rights of pre-born human beings that we, who also have human flesh and blood, are unwilling to take – that’s discrimination.

    • falsely assuming (petitio principii) two components (body and person), instead of one.

      How is the fallacy of begging the question (petitio principia) relevant here?

      “Would you be willing to undergo the same destruction of your body that is performed on the unborn during an abortion, and if not – why?”

      No. I’m a person. Below a certain point, the fetus is not.

      We know scientifically from the moment of conception the pre-born also has a human body.

      In common parlance, a single cell, too small to see, is not a human body.

  8. “In common parlance, a single cell, too small to see, is not a human body..”

    And a single cell is never aborted, so your point is moot and meaningless.

    You just fall into the body/person argument which as been refuted and is a bogus argument.

    Again your relativist worldview of contradiction falls apart. Your single cell idea is a joke.

    Day 1 – Fertilization! All human chromosomes are present and a unique human life begins. And no abortion ever happens at day1. No one knows they are even pregnant at day 1. There is no Single cell at day one.

    • And a single cell is never aborted, so your point is moot and meaningless.

      This is just a terminology thing? What’s the correct term?

      You just fall into the body/person argument which as been refuted and is a bogus argument.

      Bold talk! Now slow down and tell me why. I don’t see your point at all.

      Again your relativist worldview of contradiction falls apart. Your single cell idea is a joke.

      Again, I’m not clear what you’re saying.

      And no abortion ever happens at day1. No one knows they are even pregnant at day 1. There is no Single cell at day one.

      So you’re OK with the morning after pill (Plan B)?

  9. You just fall into the body/person argument which as been refuted and is a bogus argument.

    “Bold talk! Now slow down and tell me why…. ”

    I did the SLED argument and the The Non Person argument I posted above.

    Here is a valid Argument:

    1. It is wrong to take the life of an innocent human being without proper justification.
    2. Abortion takes the life of innocent human beings without proper justification. (Justification means you kill an innocent human being inside the womb for reasons you would never kill the innocent human being outside the womb. If it is not ok to kill the two year old, it is not ok to kill the “same child” in the womb because it is in a different location and at an earlier stage in the mother).
    3. Therefore abortion is wrong.

    • I did the SLED argument and the The Non Person argument I posted above.

      Yes, and I responded to that. The next step would not be to declare victory but rather to respond to my comments.

      Here is a valid Argument:

      Yes! Now if it were only sound

      :-(

    • You said, “no abortion ever happens at day1.” And now we find out that you don’t like the morning-after pill (that kills a single cell).

      I assume you’re just being pedantic about the meaning of “abortion.” OK, then explain your, “a single cell is never aborted, so your point is moot and meaningless.” Are you simply saying “you used a word wrongly so your entire argument is meaningless”?

  10. 1. It is wrong to take the life of an innocent human being without proper justification.
    2. Abortion takes the life of innocent human beings without proper justification. (Justification means you kill an innocent human being inside the womb for reasons you would never kill the innocent human being outside the womb. If it is not ok to kill the two year old, it is not ok to kill the “same child” in the womb because it is in a different location and at an earlier stage in the mother).
    3. Therefore abortion is wrong.

    • It is wrong to take the life of an innocent human being without proper justification.

      And what if the life of the mother is in danger, would an abortion be justified as self defense?

      If it is not ok to kill the two year old, it is not ok to kill the “same child” in the womb because it is in a different location and at an earlier stage in the mother.

      Have you ever read the Old Testament, the Israelites didn’t have a problem with doing BOTH things. They killed children, infants, and the pregnant mothers too.

      As long as you cling to the Biblical God, you have no grounds for an ethical argument.

    • Haven’t we been over this? I’ve never met someone who denies himself the ability to criticize or label things right or wrong.

      And if you think you’ve found someone, you need to check first. Because you’re almost surely wrong.

      Your argument distills down to, “If you deny yourself the ability to criticize, you can’t criticize.” Agreed, but why even make this pointless statement? Who do you pretend it applies to?

      • He didn’t say you couldn’t hold a view. Just that you have no rational basis for the view you hold. You have said the same thing—that your expressions of right and wrong are ultimately just your opinion.

        • Just that you have no rational basis for the view you hold.

          Right–that’s the ridiculous claim that falls flat.

          You have said the same thing—that your expressions of right and wrong are ultimately just your opinion.

          True! But I still criticize and label things right and wrong. That’s where Bob C’s ship founders on the Rocks of Ridiculousness.

          You may respond that when I label things right or wrong, I don’t make any claim of supernatural or transcendental grounding. That is, I don’t say, “That’s wrong in God’s book” or “That’s right in the eyes of heaven” or make any similar claim of supernatural backing. Correct. But who does?

          Do you? Should I interpret every right/wrong label from you as an absolute claim? Or should I assume that, like me, you feel free to express your own personal opinion sometimes?

          Of course, you may sometimes make that supernatural claim. But I’ve yet to see any evidence that this is any more than just your opinion.

  11. OK, reference your comment, “True! But I still criticize and label things right and wrong. That’s where Bob C’s ship founders on the Rocks of Ridiculousness.”

    That is an interesting statement, I think. Kind of an overreach. But interesting. Clearly when I say I BELIEVE something is wrong, it is my OPINION that that thing is wrong. I base that opinion on what I BELIEVE to be the written expression of God’s opinion, found in what I BELIEVE to be His book. There are some objective reasons to believe it is His book, (archeology, fulfilled prophecy, historic validation) but ultimately, it is my opinion based on something I consider valid. I have an objective standard of proof that I can look to and make a determination, but it is my choice to place my faith in the truth of that source that makes me consider it to be valid. Ultimately, it is an opinion based on that basis, and shared with all who consider the book to be a valid source.

    So where is the disagreement? Your opinion is based on cultural norms, family teachings, and personal preference. Not sure why you’re beating this particular drum so hard. I think we agree again.

    The only problem is that without an objective standard, you, Hitler, Mao, Jack the Ripper and Pol Pot came to different conclusions about what is wrong, and you can’t say they were wrong based on any objective standard you can point to. That is where the difference between the atheistic (but semi-Judeo-Christian in similarity) morality you hold, and the atheistic but very different standards they held to be appropriate.

    • I have an objective standard of proof that I can look to and make a determination…

      I understand the claim, of course, but I see no evidence for it.

      Not sure why you’re beating this particular drum so hard. I think we agree again.

      If your position is, “you have no rational basis for the view you hold,” we’re not even close. And I’ll need an argument to evaluate this claim of yours.

      The only problem is that without an objective standard, you, Hitler, Mao, Jack the Ripper and Pol Pot came to different conclusions about what is wrong, and you can’t say they were wrong based on any objective standard you can point to.

      True. You got something better? Again: I see no evidence for an objective source of moral truth. It’s easy to say, “Oh—no problem for the Christian. He has objective truth to rely on.” Showing that that claim is any more accurate than anyone’s similar claim is more interesting. I’ve seen zero evidence so far of objective morality.

  12. Bob said:

    “Haven’t we been over this? I’ve never met someone who denies himself the ability to criticize or label things right or wrong..”

    Still don’t get it, do you?

    That is the point the Christian worldview is saying. We can say there are right and wrongs because God has written them on man’s heart. The ought and ought not’s are universal, abstract. absolutes truths. And we can account for them. They come from the mind and nature of God.

    The atheist worldview rejects Moral absolute truths. And you are left with “Relativism”. But the Atheist tries to hold to relativism but can not do so. Because you must contradict yourself to do it. The Relativist says we must be tolerant to all people and there ideas. Because there are no absolute moral right and wrongs. So if this is true you are bound to tolerance. Which means your opinion is not better than anyone else opinion and you are to be tolerant of there opinions because they have no greater weight than your own..They are relative to each person. Easy to say for the Atheist but impossible to do ( As Bob has showed us over and over) . Bob is always criticizing others which makes Bob intolerant to others. No getting around it for one to be a relativist one must be a walking contradiction. Which proves relativism is irrational , contradictory , and absurd.

    ‘Yes, Bob we know you criticize and make statements of right and wrong all the time. But to do so you must contradict yourself. All your right and wrongs and criticism’s are relative. They have no weight. They have no standard. You can not account for right or wrong. So to be true to your relativism you must never be intolerant, never judge, and never refer to moral right and wrongs. Because they just exist in your mind and are true just for you. They have no standard and are no more important then anyone else in you worldview.

    Only the Christian worldview can account for Moral absolute truths and can judge Ought and Ought not’s..Because we have a perfect standard of truth. Jesus Christ who said “I am the life, and the Truth , and the Way…” There is not life, truth, or way, without Christ. That is the Christian worldview.

    All you have is subjective person opinion which is irrelevant and relative to you only.

    • That is the point the Christian worldview is saying. We can say there are right and wrongs because God has written them on man’s heart.

      Still don’t get it, do you?

      Your simply saying this counts for nothing. I can say that the Flying Spaghetti Monster gives Man access to absolute truth, but that would be nonsense. I have zero evidence to back up that claim. No one believes it. In the same way, you bring no evidence for your claim. Why believe it?

      The ought and ought not’s are universal, abstract. absolutes truths. And we can account for them. They come from the mind and nature of God.

      Bold talk. Now provide the evidence. If you have no evidence, just tell us that this is simply your unevidenced claim.

      Which means your opinion is not better than anyone else opinion and you are to be tolerant of there opinions because they have no greater weight than your own.

      Look–if you have some sort of disability which prevents you from understanding stuff, just let me know and I’ll back off. But if you actually have been reading my stuff, I’m wondering why I have to repeat myself over and over and over and over to you.

      No, Bob C, this is not what I’m saying. My moral claim is that anyone can have a moral opinion, but when my opinion differs with someone else’s, I think mine is better. That’s how it works with me (and I’ll bet that’s how it works with everyone else you ask).

      If you don’t like this view, then you don’t have to adopt it. But don’t give me gibberish and tell me that this is what I believe. I’ll tell you what I believe–that’s the way it works here in the real world.

      If you uncover a contradiction, tell me so. And if I correct your error, respond to my comment rather than simply repeating your nonsense again and again and again.

      for one to be a relativist one must be a walking contradiction. Which proves relativism is irrational , contradictory , and absurd.

      Funny the first time; idiotic now. You do understand the difference between an argument with evidence and just a flaccid opinion?

      All your right and wrongs and criticism’s are relative. They have no weight. They have no standard.

      Been there; addressed that. Show me a standard that’s better and give me evidence that it exists. Otherwise, keep your empty opinions to yourself.

      BTW, has any of this ever convinced anyone? I mean, it’s having zero effect here. I’m just wondering if you’ve had better success with atheists elsewhere. Because if you get the same kind of pushback, you might want to up your game and actually provide some good arguments.

  13. Seven Things Relativists Cannot Do Without Self-Contradiction

    If a person denies the existence of absolute truth, he or she necessarily denies the existence of an objective standard for determining whether an action, condition or outcome in a given situation is correct or incorrect, acceptable or unacceptable, and whether it is better or worse than an alternative. Consequently, the postmodern relativist cannot do the following without self-contradiction:

    “Accuse others of wrongdoing

    Complain about the problem of evil

    Place blame or accept praise

    Make charges of unfairness or injustice

    [Claim to] improve their morality

    Hold meaningful moral discussions

    Promote the [moral] obligation of tolerance”

    “Virtually all relativists fall prey to what Alvin Plantinga of the University of Notre Dame calls a ‘philosophical tar baby.’ If relativists try to use certain objections against moralists, they get stuck on their own objections.

    More inconsistencies.

    So everytime to argue a right or wrong I will correct you of your contradicition and intolerence.

    • Yeah, you already gave me this one. It wasn’t funny that time either.

      Your apologists have armed you with blanks, my friend. You’ve got no ammunition.

      I see no evidence of absolute truth. When I say “that’s wrong,” I say it as just my opinion. When someone disagrees, I think my opinion wins out (unless that person changes my mind).

      If you stop talking long enough to hear the other person, perhaps you’ll see that it makes sense. No contradiction.

  14. Bob still does not get it? Yes, Bob you have told me over an over that you do not hold to Absolute objective Moral truths. I get it. And that is fine with me. so you hold to Relative subjective morality. And that is fine with me. All I ask is you be consistent with your beliefs. The problem is as all the philosophers point out is you can not do it. It is impossible. You will end up contradicting your own belief system.. No one can escape there are external Moral truths.. Here is another hypocritical example of your moral relativism.

    Bob just told me:

    “….keep your empty opinions to yourself….’

    Bob admitted over and over that all he has is his opinions.. But tells me to keep my opinions to myself? What a hypocritical, illogical, self refuting statement.
    Bob admits all we have are opinions ( because there is no absolute moral opinions or truths) then tells me I can not have an opinion. Huge contradiction?
    So that means only Bob’s opinions are “right” and true? And only Bob has the “right” to express his opinion , but I have to keep mine to myself? I have not right to an opinion? I thought we are to be tolerant of each others opinions? Bob says I have to keep my opinions to myself. Hey Bob what standard did you use to tell me to keep my opinion to myself? Why moral absolute did you use to determine you get an opinion and I do not? And why Am I not allowed to give an opinion? So your opinion has relevance and weight, and I am not allowed to give an opinion? Need I go on? All can see the contradiction and hypocritical absurdity to such a statement. Bob falls into the baby tar pit of relativism, covered in tar. Just can’t get around the bankruptcy of moral relativism.

    And Bob keep you opinions to yourself regarding what I wrote. I will use your own argument.

    • so you hold to Relative subjective morality.

      Not the way you define it (as I’ve told you repeatedly).

      You will end up contradicting your own belief system.

      I’ve addressed this before … and yet here it is again in its unembellished form.

      It must be kind of fun arguing the way you do. You just get to repeat your opinions over and over and never worry about being corrected. That’s a lot easier than actually considering the other guy’s arguments, huh?

      But tells me to keep my opinions to myself?

      Nope. Just the empty ones.

      The rules for this sandbox are that you must engage with real arguments. Simply saying, “Xenu is the only ultimate ruler” is not helpful. That’s a statement of theology and not an argument. You must provide evidence.

      Bob admits all we have are opinions ( because there is no absolute moral opinions or truths) then tells me I can not have an opinion. Huge contradiction?

      Bob S says we all have opinions and then says that Bob C can’t. Yep, that’s a contradiction. I daily thank the god that’s not there that I never said this.

      Need I go on?

      You didn’t even need to start. You’re in a lather about a statement I never made.

      And Bob keep you opinions to yourself regarding what I wrote. I will use your own argument.

      Curses! Hoist by my own nonexistent petard!

  15. But tells me to keep my opinions to myself?

    “Nope. Just the empty ones. ..”

    So how do you determine in a relativistic worldview which opinions are “empty” ones? What standard are you using to make an absolute truth statement that there are valid opinions and empty opinions? And why do you get to be the judge of what opinions are valid and empty? If everything is relative in your worldview maybe all your opinions are empty? And you should keep them to yourself? We again see the arbitrariness of relativism. Got more baby tar on yourself, Bob.

    • So how do you determine in a relativistic worldview which opinions are “empty” ones?

      Oh, it’s not so hard. I’ll bet if you think real hard you’ll be able to figure it out. Just think of the Little Engine that Could.

      An empty opinion (as was pretty clear from the context of my statement) is one that is simply a bald statement–something like “Xenu is the ultimate god.” No evidence, just a theological claim.

      Let’s hold ourselves to a higher standard. Making a statement, even a startling one, is terrific, but we need the evidence. Making just a groundless opinion … not so good. And when you make statements (like that objective moral truth exists) over and over and over and over, without evidence, it gets tiring.

      Have you got an argument? Terrific! Trot it out! That’s what we’re here for. But if you simply want an audience for your empty, repetitive opinions, it’s probably best to wander somewhere else.

      What standard are you using to make an absolute truth statement … ?

      Great question! I can think of no such standard. Good thing I didn’t make an absolute truth statement.

      You, on the other hand, like to make such statements, don’t you?

  16. “Virtually all relativists fall prey to what Alvin Plantinga of the University of Notre Dame calls a ‘philosophical tar baby.’ If relativists try to use certain objections against moralists, they get stuck on their own objections.

    • And I appreciate your giving the list, “Seven Things Relativists Cannot Do Without Self-Contradiction.” Hilarious! You’re saying people actually find that compelling?

      Now that I’ve made clear my position half a dozen times, I’m sure you’ll see that those points don’t apply to my position.

      (And yet, I might as well not have stated them at all for all the good it did in educating you about my position! ;-) )

  17. so you hold to Relative subjective morality.

    Not the way you define it (as I’ve told you repeatedly).

    I never came up with my own personal definition of relativism: Regarding morality we are faced with only two possibilities: Either morality or non morality, either moral objectivism or moral relativism. There are no other choices. Morality is either objective and therefore absolute and universal, or not objective, and therefore personal and subjective, mere opinion. These are the only choices. All agree morals exist there is no way around it.

    So you are a moral relivitist weather you like the definiton or not is irrelevant.

    Speaking of definitions maybe you need to look at the definition of tolerance: “To allow or to permit, to recognize and respect others’ beliefs and practices without sharing them, to bear or put up with someone or something necessarily liked.”

    So we see we can’t tolerate others unless we disagree with them. We don’t tolerate people who share our views. Instead tolerance is reserved those we think are wrong.

    So Bob you are failing to tolerate others who disagree with you. In fact you are telling me to keep- my opinions to myself..That is intolerance on your part. More inconsistencies and contradictions and arbitrariness..And more tar on yourself. You demand tolerance on your views and are intolerant to the Christian worldview. that is a hypocritical contradiction.

    • Regarding morality we are faced with only two possibilities: Either morality or non morality, either moral objectivism or moral relativism. There are no other choices.

      Simply restating your opinion over again and again shows that you’re unable to respond to what I’ve said. It’s simply the white flag of surrender. You’ve made clear that you’ve got nothing. You’re shooting blanks.

      OK, good to know.

      “To allow or to permit, to recognize and respect others’ beliefs and practices without sharing them, to bear or put up with someone or something necessarily liked.”

      Beliefs and practices are not the problem. Once again you don’t get it.

    • Bob C wrote: Morality is either objective and therefore absolute and universal, or not objective, and therefore personal and subjective, mere opinion. These are the only choices. All agree morals exist there is no way around it.

      Great! Now demonstrate that there is an absolute morality.

      What you have done so far is to add phrases like “for your own pleasure” to statements like “it’s always wrong to torture babies”. This is NOT absolute morality! Can you not see this? By adding clauses like “for your own pleasure”, you’re making it conditional, and not absolute.

  18. “Great question! I can think of no such standard. Good thing I didn’t make an absolute truth statement.”

    LOL You just made one! You just said it is absolutly true that I did not make an absolute truth statement..Can’t get out of the “tar” can you? You just made a self refuting statement..

    • If you’ll reread what I said, I think you’ll find that I didn’t say, “It is absolutely true …” about anything.

      Hey, I’ve got an idea! How about you stop with the rhetorical games and actually provide evidence for your claims?

      What would Jesus do? Just waste people’s time like a mosquito? Or actually make a cogent argument, backed up with evidence?

  19. What you have done so far is to add phrases like “for your own pleasure” to statements like “it’s always wrong to torture babies”. This is NOT absolute morality! Can you not see this? By adding clauses like “for your own pleasure”, you’re making it conditional, and not absolute.

    Retro so is it ok to torture babies for your own pleasure?

    • Retro so is it ok to torture babies for your own pleasure?

      Why do you need to add “for your own pleasure”?

      Whether it’s moral or not depends on the motive, doesn’t it? If it depends on motive, then it’s not absolute, is it?

      Let’s leave out the “for your own pleasure” part, and simply ask, “Is it always wrong to torture a baby?” Yes or no.

  20. ” Beliefs and practices are not the problem. Once again you don’t get it.”

    So what is the problem? And do you tolerate all peoples opinions?

  21. Let’s leave out the “for your own pleasure” part, and simply ask, “Is it always wrong to torture a baby?” Yes or no.

  22. Retro said

    ” Let’s leave out the “for your own pleasure” part, and simply ask, “Is it always wrong to torture a baby?” Yes or no…”

    Ok here is the definition of Torture

    Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain (whether physical or psychological) as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty.

    So yes it is absolutely wrong under any condition to torture baby. And any reason or condition one would give is irrelevant.

    Also I am not interested in trying to prove absolute truths or absolute morality to you. There are many people today who hold to post modern relative truth and morality. Like Bob and I guess you. All I am asking is you and Bob be consistent in your relativism. Which Bob fails to do over and over.

    • Thank you for a clear statement of your position.

      So yes it is absolutely wrong under any condition to torture [a] baby.

      How do you know it’s absolutely wrong? Why not just say that, from your standpoint, it seems wrong? Or that, from your standpoint, it’s very, very wrong? If you drop the supernatural claim, you suddenly have a very plausible claim. Nothing surprising about that, nothing remarkable. But when you make the absolute claim, your argument is now suspended in midair, without evidence.

      Also I am not interested in trying to prove absolute truths or absolute morality to you.

      Translation: “I can’t justify my absolute morality claims. I would if I could, but I can’t. They’re just my opinions, frankly, but I imagine them to be absolute to give them a billion times more weight”

      Bob C: if you can’t prove absolute moral truth, perhaps you could at least give us a demonstration. If (1) absolute moral truth exists and (2) we can reliably access it (let me know if you claim both these points) then take a moral dilemma within society (say, abortion, capital punishment, or euthanasia) and resolve it for us. Point us to the absolute moral truth that we can all reliably access. We’ll know you’ve done your job when anyone who reads your reasoning agrees with your point.

      All I am asking is you and Bob be consistent in your relativism. Which Bob fails to do over and over.

      I’m dying to hear my inconsistency. The only “over and over” part is your sticking your fingers in your ears so you don’t have to understand my moral position.

      Here’s a tip: to be an effective argument, it actually has to respond to my position. Anything else is what’s called a “straw man.” You see, it’s called a straw man because a man actually built of straw would be easy to push over. Someone serious about discovering the truth would respond to the actual argument, not the straw man.

    • Bob C wrote: So yes it is absolutely wrong under any condition to torture baby. And any reason or condition one would give is irrelevant.

      Would you consider purposely injecting a baby with a fatal disease in order to punish the father to be torture?

      Also I am not interested in trying to prove absolute truths or absolute morality to you.

      Why not? Unless you can actually back it up with something, then any notion of absolute morality is simply your opinion.

      At this point, I’m not even asking you to prove it, I’m simply asking for some examples of absolute morality.

  23. Retro said:

    “Why should I bother posting a verse? It seems clear to me that no matter what God does, you consider it to be moral, and you’re just fine with it..”

    “Let’s look at the verses anyway: Our story is in 2 Samuel Chapter 12.”

    Verses 13-15: Then David said to Natham ” I have sinned against the Lord”. Nathan replied “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die.”

    After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill.

    “We are plainly told why David’s baby died, and that God Himself did it…”

    “Now then, after all of this, what should David do next? It seems that David should know better than to have anymore children with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.

    Verse 24-25: Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved him; and because the LORD loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.

    “David has first baby with Bathseba, and God kills it. David has second baby with Bathseba, and God loves it.”

    Well to start with I gave Bob S. this valid syllogism

    1. It is wrong to take the life of an innocent human being without proper justification.
    2. Abortion takes the life of innocent human beings without proper justification. (Justification means you kill an innocent human being inside the womb for reasons you would never kill the innocent human being outside the womb. If it is not ok to kill the two year old, it is not ok to kill the “same child” in the womb because it is in a different location and at an earlier stage in the mother).
    3. Therefore abortion is wrong.

    Keeping that in mind, now back to David.

    So in Verses 13-15 When David was charged by God’s prophet, David responded with an immediate confession. We can see David’s full confession in Psalm 51. The penalty for David’s sin was death. But God in His mercy spared David and did no kill David. But as forgiven sinner many of us pay for and live with the consequences of our sins as David did. God disciplined David by taking the life ( with justification) of the baby. God gives life and takes life as the perfect right of the creator. David worshipped the Lord after the death of the baby, Davis humbly accepted the Lord’s discipline. ( God disciplines those He loves) As a loving farther disciplines his children. Also David knew he would see his baby again in the resurrection. So we see the Justification of why God disciplined David and the result of the consequences of David’s sin..

    In verses 24-25

    Yes Bathsheba was now David’s wife. And David sin (after David’s repentance) was forgiven. And the Lord loved him. And it spoke well for the future of the Davidic house. Despite the sins of David and descendents, the Lords gracious favor, in keeping with His promises.

    Retro asked:

    “..Does this actually make any sense whatsoever?”

    Yes, the Lord is free to love whom He wills and hate whom He wills ..Do not forget Jacob and Esau.. Before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad- in order that God’s purpose in election might stand..God said Jacob I love and Esau I hate.( Rom.9) God has mercy on whom He will and Hardens whom He will…God raised Pharaoh to show His power.(Rom 9) God is sovereign over His creation..All that God does is perfect ,holy, just, and loving. So your genetic fallacies trying to equate mans evil acts with God are absurd and meaningless. Same with you absurd slavery arguments. You are trying to compare our western view of slavery witch is immoral to a theocratic culture that treated slavery more like the way we treat employment today Which was under the rule of God, not corrupt man.. So you commit a category fallacy. The two are not alike.

    • God gives life and takes life as the perfect right of the creator.

      So it’s impossible for God to do wrong? He can do whatever he wants, and it’s by definition “good”?

      Imagine this: you’re standing at the gates of heaven with your ticket in hand. God cracks open the door and say, “Nope, you don’t get in,” and down to hell you go. You’re totally comfortable with God doing that if he so chooses? That would be a “good” act?

      God said Jacob I love and Esau I hate.( Rom.9) God has mercy on whom He will and Hardens whom He will…God raised Pharaoh to show His power.(Rom 9)

      Yeah, I see what you mean. The God as imagined by the Bible is a nasty piece of work.

      your genetic fallacies

      Explain the fallacy.

      trying to equate mans evil acts with God are absurd and meaningless.

      Tragically, God and man are both described with the same dictionary. Webster’s never has a caveat that says, “except if God did it.”

      You are trying to compare our western view of slavery witch is immoral to a theocratic culture that treated slavery more like the way we treat employment today

      Do you think that simply repeating your arguments dismisses their glaring errors? Squarely address the challenges Retro and I have made about slavery. It was good old-fashioned for-life slavery for non-Jews. Are you saying that you’d be cool with OT slavery reinstated in modern-day America?

    • Bob C wrote: Keeping that in mind, now back to David.

      Keep what in mind? How does abortion relate to this story? God killed David’s baby AFTER it was born.

      If it’s not OK to kill a child in the womb, then why would it be OK to kill a baby AFTER it’s been born?

      So we see the Justification of why God disciplined David and the result of the consequences of David’s sin..

      When I think of the consequences of something, I think of something that is causally related. You know, like if David was driving drunk with the baby in the car, David crashes, and the crash kills the baby… that’d be a consequence.

      How is the death of David’s baby a direct result from something that David did?

      Yes, the Lord is free to love whom He wills and hate whom He wills

      Well aren’t you lucky that God just happens to love you.

  24. “Why focus on the future?”

    Because it’s impossible to take away the past, and the present is so short it’s nonexistent (or if a person took away just the instant you were now experiencing, it would not be condemned as murder). Murder – killing someone in cold blood – is wrong because it takes away a person’s future.

    Appealing to cloning cells does not help here, because unless a cell is cloned there is no possible future like mine. Of course, once you’ve cloned it, then there is. But beforehand? No. So this is a non-starter. Argument 10 just hasn’t been rebutted.

    • Hi, Glenn. I’ve enjoyed your Beretta-cast.

      The fetus changes markedly month to month. When someone is murdered, how that person would change is irrelevant–we would never say, “Well, admittedly, this stock broker wasn’t much to look at when he was killed, but here’s a picture of what he would’ve looked like two months from now, with well-developed little hands and feet.” That’s why comparing them is a red herring.

      Said another way, throwing in the future is simply an odd addition to the conversation. “He took away Mr. Smith’s life!” is accusation enough against a murderer. That is, focusing on the present is plenty. Doing that in the case of a single cell gets us back to the spectrum argument.

  25. Geez you deal with a bunch of dunderheads, all they do is argue with you over the little things and misinterpret your statements. I actually enjoy your posts, and I enjoy your non-persecuting views on the topic. I think my favorite example was that of the nine year old girl, it really shows how ridiculous people can be. Keep up the good work.

    • Gosh, Nicole, you are right. A bunch of dunderheads arguing over little things. Like fetuses and whether they are human. Your monumentally intellectual rebuttal will make me rethink my whole approach.

      Standing for the possibility that a fetus could be an actual human, that they feel pain during late term abortions, that there is value and sanctity of life. What silly concepts. Dunderheads indeed.

      Regards,
      Rick

      • Rick:

        I think fetuses are human. So do you. So does everyone.

        What is in doubt is whether a fetus (better: the single cell that it came from) is a person.

        I share much of your concern over that tiny fraction of abortions that are late-term. Why do women have them? Are their reasons trivial ones like, “Gee, this pregnancy is making me fat”? Or are they more substantial?

        Your highlighting late-term abortions is exactly what I would do. Perhaps you see the spectrum of personhood just like I do.

      • I think you neglected to understand that my message wasn’t directed to argue with you dunderheads (I fancy ths word). I was simply giving my kudos to the writer because I enjoyed his article and some examples he posed.

        That being said, just like Bob said, we know it’s human, but I believe up until the third trimester it’s not a person. Yet that’s not what I want to argue, I want to argue that abortion should be a choice because a baby’s rights do not surpass its mothers.

        If the mother is not financially stable, or even ready to have the baby (an extreme case would be with the nine year old), then why put her through an unfulfilled life or one stricken by poverty? Along with putting the baby through a life where it won’t be given the proper childhood it deserves.

        Some may say that adoption is an option, however adoption won’t reverse any of the major psychological and physical effects pregnancy and birth have on a woman’s body. Nor will it ensure a proper lifestyle for the child. Whose to say its parents will be fit, or that it won’t be bounced around in foster homes and never know what a true home or family feels like? There are many unwanted children, why add to the mix?

        So here’s my point, now I anxiously wait to rebut your rebuttal, dunderhead.

        • Nicole: Sounds like we’re on the same page.

          Some may say that adoption is an option

          Two problems here (that you will have seen if you’ve read my entire series of posts on abortion). A teenage girl going through a pregnancy is undertaking quite an ordeal that will have a substantial effect on her life.

          And of those women who get an unwanted pregnancy and carry through to delivery, only 2% give it up for adoption.

        • By what standard does the baby become human and have right to life at the second trimester but not the first? Is that day 93 or 94? What makes that significant? If you are free to make this call, why not just kill it at will whenever you decide?

          I’d appreciate your help with this dilemma, because I’m clearly not capable of grasping it.

          – A mere dunderhead

        • Rick:

          You’re focused on issue 2: when the mother’s right to choose must be overridden by society. It’s a good question, but we’re still stuck on issue 1: is personhood a spectrum? Seems obvious to me that it is, but you disagree. This is the question to focus on first.

          If your point is that this question is unresolvable, I’d respond that it sounds like a myriad questions that Congress deals with–should the tax rate be x% or x+1% or x+2%? Should the fine for this crime be y or 2y? Sure, it’s messy. Sure, not everyone is satisfied with the results. But that’s how the game is played.

          Ask Congress where the dividing line is, give them the scientific input that they need, and they’ll come to an answer.

        • Bob,

          I’m not focused on issue #2. I’m focused on the definition of what the fetus is. I think it is clear there is no specific point in the spectrum you like to discuss where it magically crosses a line and becomes human. It either is or isn’t human in its essence.

          I don’t look to Congress to resolve my morality questions. If you do, you have bigger problems than I thought. I have made it clear where I stand on when life begins. That makes this question easy for me.

          My question for you is the same. At what point in your spectrum do you decide that the blob of tissue is worth protecting, and on what basis do you make this determination? If you can’t then erring on the side of life seems logical. Otherwise, we are free to make our own subjective determination. Defining some tissue blobs or some races as sub-human is what led to he holocaust, and leads radical elements of some religion to think they can kill all others.

          Those are issues you should be fighting. But there are political correctness sensitivities that make them uncomfortable.

          Life begins at conception according to the only known source for moral authority in the universe, from the classical Christian perspective. That means I take a stand for life as well as look for ways to avoid unwanted pregnancies and also seek peace with extremists. That is my spectrum, but it is more of a continuum. It’s all life. Jesus died to pay for all of the sin. And it all matters.

          You think otherwise. On what basis do you make the calls? It is subjective and relative in your world. But I don’t have to live there. Nor do you. There are clear answers.

          Rick

        • Rick:

          We agree that it never stopped being a human, so you can avoid the h-word from now on. My point is that it’s not a person when it’s a single cell.

          But I’m flexible. If my use of “person” for this spectrum is problematic–”person” is identical to “human” to you, for example–then you tell me what trait a newborn baby has that a single invisible cell doesn’t have.

          I’m not focused on issue #2. I’m focused on the definition of what the fetus is. I think it is clear there is no specific point in the spectrum you like to discuss where it magically crosses a line and becomes human.

          I think we’re on the same page about human-ness. But let me address the “magically” point.

          Larceny is theft (and a misdemeanor), and grand larceny is a larger theft (and a felony). Where is the line between larceny and grand larceny? Wikipedia says that the amount varies by state–some say $400, some say $1000 for example. Where do you draw the line?

          Abortion is the same way. Where do you draw the line? There is no “magical” in either larceny or abortion, just politicians doing their best (one hopes) to find the right balance.

          I don’t look to Congress to resolve my morality questions.

          Doesn’t much matter whether you do or not; they’re defining the definitions of moral questions regardless. If that offends you … well, I guess it sucks to be you. You’re free to disagree and vote differently, but that won’t get you very far. When you and the law disagree, the law wins.

          I have made it clear where I stand on when life begins. That makes this question easy for me.

          Then I’m not seeing the problem. If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one. It’s a choice. If you want to counsel others to not have abortion, then exercise your free speech rights. But to impose this on everyone is extreme.

          A foundational premise for pro-choicers is that the mother is a pretty good guide to whether the fetus makes sense or not. If she says it doesn’t, that says a lot.

          At what point in your spectrum do you decide that the blob of tissue is worth protecting, and on what basis do you make this determination?

          Huh?! You opened your comment by saying, “I’m not focused on issue #2″!

          Let’s not discuss it then.

          If you can’t then erring on the side of life seems logical.

          OK, I guess we’re discussing it.

          You know how laws work. You can imagine how legislators would argue about where the line between larceny and grand larceny is. Why pretend that this is an intractable problem?

          And this Big Government attitude is surprising coming from you. I would’ve thought that you’d not want to avoid government intruding in citizens’ affairs.

          Defining some tissue blobs or some races as sub-human is what led to he holocaust, and leads radical elements of some religion to think they can kill all others.

          Don’t get me started. I’ve read the crazy racist talk in the Old Testament. I think we’re on the same page here.

          Life begins at conception

          Who doubts this? We’re talking about personhood.

          It’s all life.

          “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” That’s from PETA. Is this your attitude, or do you see a spectrum here?

          It is subjective and relative in your world. But I don’t have to live there. Nor do you. There are clear answers.

          “Come into my fantasy world! The water’s fine!”

          In the first place, the answers are not clear. “Christianity” is a pretty big tent, with lots of incompatible answers.

          In the second, they’re just made-up answers. Christianity’s answers are no better grounded in reality than Islam’s or Scientology’s.

        • Bob,

          Your definition of person is the same as my definition of human. I don’t want humans or persons murdered. This should be clear from my discussion.

          A dog and a pig are not human nor are they persons. No spectrum there. You can make bacon but you can’t be a cannibal in our society.

          Congress makes laws. They don’t define morality. They bring their morality to the table and do the best they can, I suppose. I’m not required to agree with their choices. That is what lawmaking is all about. I get to participate. Sorry if that distresses you. It doesn’t distress me that my side doesn’t always win.

          So back to my question that you refuse to answer but would rather quibble as usual. Where do YOU draw the line and on WHAT BASIS?

          Rick

        • Your definition of person is the same as my definition of human.

          Then, as I suggested, we’re stumbling over words. You tell me–what trait is present in a trillion-cell newborn (with arms and legs, heart and circulatory system, eyes and ears) but not present in a single cell? I say “personhood,” but give me a better term and I’ll use that instead.

          A dog and a pig are not human nor are they persons. No spectrum there.

          ?? Of course there’s a spectrum. The value to us is in the ordering: rat, pig, dog, boy. Less value on the left; more on the right.

          Congress makes laws. They don’t define morality.

          If there is no overlap, then drop morality from our conversation. Congress is the topic on the table, since the issue is, “Should abortion be made illegal?” and they’re the ones that you want to make this change.

          I get to participate. Sorry if that distresses you.

          Just a non sequitur thrown in for fun?

          So back to my question that you refuse to answer but would rather quibble as usual. Where do YOU draw the line and on WHAT BASIS?

          What line? You mean the line on the spectrum of personhood? Why talk about that when we haven’t agreed that the spectrum exists?!

          You focus on this question because you know that you have no traction on the other question. OK, let’s get this one out of the way then: I have no strong opinion on where the line is drawn. I’m neither an obstetrician nor a politician. I would rely on them to do a reasonable job (which, last time I checked, they had done).

          Whew! Now that we’ve gotten past my question that I refuse to answer, let’s move on to yours: what trait does a newborn have that a single cell doesn’t?

  26. Bob,

    You act like I’m making up something novel that needs to be defined. I’m articulating the classical Christian position, with which you are well aware. Perhaps you are trying to trip me up or make me say something silly. From your perspective, apparently anything I say qualifies.

    Life begins at conception because without outside intervention, the well designed system in place (which you call nature) will result in a live human (a person—I see no difference in the terms and will use them interchangeably). I’ve stated this before.

    According to that classical Christian understanding, God imbued humans with his divine image spiritually. This makes humanity infinite in nature and wholly separated in value from the animals to which you want to compare us and put us on a spectrum of your own definition.

    I only discuss the spectrum to find out what YOU believe about it, not because I agree with its existence or relevance.

    So that should answer all of your questions (again). Now why don’t you answer my two questions of you on this topic—
    At what point is the life to be protected, and
    On what basis do you make that determination?

    You can keep quibbling over my definitions, which again, you know very well, or you can answer the questions.

    Rick

    • Life begins at conception

      Granted. No need to restate this. I think we have a disagreement elsewhere.

      According to that classical Christian understanding, God imbued humans with his divine image spiritually.

      OK, but your argument isn’t “I’m bound to follow the Christian view of things; that’s my argument.” I think you claim to have an argument that is effective in a secular conversation.

      So that should answer all of your questions (again).

      You’ve answered my question twice? I guess I haven’t been keeping count.

      Remind me, because I’ve missed: what quality does a newborn have that a single cell doesn’t have? Seems to me that you’re avoiding this question.

      Now why don’t you answer my two questions of you on this topic— At what point is the life to be protected, and On what basis do you make that determination?

      Huh? It does your argument no good to argue that I’ve been evasive when I already answered this: I don’t have an opinion. These are legal questions, and I’m happy to let the legislature decide them.

      • Tiresome.

        OK, but your argument isn’t “I’m bound to follow the Christian view of things; that’s my argument.” I think you claim to have an argument that is effective in a secular conversation.

        Don’t put words in my mouth. I’m not making an argument. I’m stating the classical Christian position, with which I agree. You are in disagreement.

        …what quality does a newborn have that a single cell doesn’t have? Seems to me that you’re avoiding this question.

        As I stated above, but will repeat for the third time, without intervention a conceived zygote will develop into a fully formed human being person thingy. Clear enough? Intervention stops the life and is wrong according to classical Christianity. That’s number three. For those who are counting.

        It does your argument no good to argue that I’ve been evasive when I already answered this: I don’t have an opinion. These are legal questions, and I’m happy to let the legislature decide them.

        Let me remind you of the topic of the post. “16 Arguments Against Abortion with Rebuttals.” You are advocating a position. So I’m asking you to define at what point the position you are advocating is appropriate. And why. Again.

        You can’t advocate that it’s OK to terminate a life without also specifying when it stops being OK. That is what I’m asking for. Otherwise, your position is a sham and a dodge. So when is it OK, and on what basis do YOU make that determination? This is where the rubber meets the road.

        • As I stated above, but will repeat for the third time, without intervention a conceived zygote will develop into a fully formed human being person thingy. Clear enough?

          No. The question I asked has a one- or two-word answer–”personhood” or “human-ness” or “like-me-ness” or something similar is what I was expecting.

          I agree with your sentence but can’t imagine why you think that would answer the question.

          You are advocating a position.

          Yes, and I defended it. QED.

          So I’m asking you to define at what point the position you are advocating is appropriate. And why. Again.

          Your sentence sounds like you think that defending the line beyond which the state steps in to say that abortion is illegal falls out of my argument. Show me. That’s a very different topic.

          You can’t answer my question so you desperately try to change the subject to a domain where you think you have more traction? Sorry–ain’t working.

          You can’t advocate that it’s OK to terminate a life without also specifying when it stops being OK.

          ?? I can and do. These are very different questions. The legislature decides the cutoff point. QED as well.

        • You defer to the legislature in all things moral? As I said, sorry state of affairs. What is YOUR position and WHY?

          I’m not dodging. You’re quibbling. What is YOUR answer, and why is the legislature right and I’m wrong? Inquiring minds want to know…

          As for the life stuff, you have my answer. You just don’t like it.

        • Oh, I see. It’s not you who’s dodging, it’s me.

          You defer to the legislature in all things moral?

          Haven’t we discussed this? It’s their job to do this. I wouldn’t call it “moral”; I’d call it “legal.”

          What is YOUR position and WHY?

          I don’t have a position on the right time for the government to step in w/r abortion, just like I don’t have an opinion on lots of issues. Stop asking the question; I’ve already answered.

          I’m not dodging.

          I’ve answered my question. We have yet to see anything but dodging from you on yours.

  27. Goodness, you avoid so many questions Rick, it’s quite tiring to see someone argue with you. What bothers me is that you want to push your beliefs on someone who may believe otherwise. Abortion should be a choice, that’s the point we are getting at.

    You can’t tell a woman what to do when you won’t ever experience the pain or countless effects of a pregnancy. Unless it is your child, it is not your choice. I understand and completely respect your opinion, but I do not believe that I, or anyone else who believes otherwise, should live by it. Therefore I have my stance, and you have yours. That’s why it should be a choice. No government should ever control someone’s body.

    And Bob, believe me I understand, I was simply addressing the opposing side. :)

    • Nicole,

      I answered every question. Bob and you just don’t agree with the answers, so you say I didn’t answer. Exactly what do you accuse me of dodging?

      Bob advocates a position but refuses to define what his support for abortion implies. Where is the line for you, or for him? He says he doesn’t have an opinion. Do you? He refuses to say. Do you?

      Government controls lots of choices, many including theft, fraud, the wording on my state inspection sticker and whether it is OK to kill. In some cases like self defense, it is. Abortion is not in that category.

      It is never my choice whether it is OK to terminate a pregnancy. I’m not imposing my view. I’m simply stating the classical Christian position. As for pain associated with childbirth, are you aware of the pain associated with an abortion, both during and after, both physical and emotional? From the testimonies I’ve heard, abortion is anything but pain free. And ask the babies, particularly late term. Oh, wait, they can’t tell you.

      One of every two abortions kills a female victim, and sometimes the mother too. That isn’t a solution. We can do better as a society.

      In all sincerity, Nicole, I would ask you to examine your heart on this. If you have personally experienced an abortion or someone very close to you has, it may be difficult to be objective. But if you can be objective, this is a serious topic not well suited to platitudes.

      Think well.

      Regard,
      Rick

      • Exactly what do you accuse me of dodging?

        I ask you what to call what a newborn has and a single cell doesn’t, and you refuse to answer.

        Is this supposed to be an example of responsible Christian scholarship? Of facing the questions squarely and going where the evidence leads?

        I’ve lost interest in a conversation where you’re just stonewalling.

        He refuses to say.

        I’ve answered your question three times. Mock my ignorance if you’d like–I’m not an obstetrician–but that’s a different question. You wallow in the “where do you draw the line?” question only to hope that no one notices that you’re unable to answer the question that I ask.

        Abortion is not in that category.

        Are we talking about what authority decides that abortion is legal or not? It’s the government.

        That is your goal, right? To get the government to make abortion illegal? I can’t imagine why you’d deny that government is central to your goal.

        I’m not imposing my view.

        So you don’t want government action to make abortion illegal? Maybe I’ve misunderstood your position.

        We can do better as a society.

        Tell me about it. But comprehensive sex education seems to also be a non-starter for you, so I guess your goal is to neither have your cake nor eat it, too.

        • You’re really starting to frustrate me. For starters, the theft and other government regulated crimes you’ve mentioned all effect another person who independently lives from he who commits it. You can impose that a baby is its own person, however that’s not the case. It lives on the mother, you can’t just take it out of her womb up until a certain point and expect it to survive.

          This is where I draw my line for abortion, when it can survive without the nutrients from the mothers body.

          You said you’re trying to represent Christian views. What if I’m not Christian? This stance of many people on this issue is determined by their morals which mainly come from their faith.

          See that’s where the governments interference would go against one of the main laws governing our nation; the seperation of church and state. Your faith has no right to undermine my faiths stance on the issue. That is why it is a choice.

        • Sorry to frustrate you. Perhaps your idea of avoiding frustration is that we all agree with your position. Short of that, we do have some differences. Here is what I take from your most recent note.

          You can impose that a baby is its own person, however that’s not the case. It lives on the mother, you can’t just take it out of her womb up until a certain point and expect it to survive. … This is where I draw my line for abortion, when it can survive without the nutrients from the mothers body.

          So you are to defining viability as the point of acceptability for abortion. At least you are willing to go on record, which Bob is not. Your point of view has challenges in terms of technology, though. As medicine has advanced, we have been able to keep earlier and earlier premature babies alive. So if technology improves to the point where we can now predictably keep three-month premature babies alive, but 10 years ago it was only at the two-month point, then is it wrong to kill babies because the point of medical viability changed? This sounds like penalizing the baby because of improvements in technology. It gets to die for a larger portion of its tenure in vitro.

          You said you’re trying to represent Christian views. What if I’m not Christian? This stance of many people on this issue is determined by their morals which mainly come from their faith.

          Whether you are a Christian or not makes no difference as to what the classical Christian views are on moral topics. You are free to disagree and to express that disagreement. Your views come from your faith, or lack thereof, as well. I’m not making any assessment of your faith—just observing that your view of God and related morality is shaped by what you believe about His existence and authority.

          See that’s where the governments interference would go against one of the main laws governing our nation; the seperation of church and state. Your faith has no right to undermine my faiths stance on the issue. That is why it is a choice.

          The laws you refer to are actually principles embedded in the first amendment to the Constitution. That amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” So CONGRESS is restricted from establishing religion—that is the portion of religion that is separated from government interference. There is no law prohibiting persons of faith from expressing their views regarding moral issues, regardless of whether those views are informed by religion or by the man in the moon.

          There are lots of choices which are legitimately restricted by government. Cheating on taxes, killing innocent persons, stealing, traffic laws, etc. All of these restrict my freedom of choice. I can’t do what my desire might be at the moment if it would violate one of these provisions enacted by government.

          What you seem to be saying is that your views should be respected and established as law, but that mine should not. So your world view, and your religious perspective should be respected, but anyone who has a different view, especially if their view is informed by their religious beliefs, should not. Seems rather… hypocritical? Why is your view more valid than mine, which you want to bar from the public square?

        • OK. This is number four. I’m not avoiding your question. I now answer it a fourth time.

          what to call what a newborn has and a single cell doesn’t, and you refuse to answer.

          The inherent characteristic that uninterrupted, it will develop into a fully formed independent human person. I tried to use some humor (thingy) to help you see this, but it didn’t work, apparently. The zygote has DNA that is unique from the mother and father, yet was contributed to by both and is fully set to be an independent human person without interference from independent abortive action.

          I’m not dodging, so quit accusing me of that.

          You, however, refuse to say WHEN it is OK to abort and on what basis you make this determination, yet you advocate in favor of abortion. (“I don’t have an opinion.”) Then stop advocating. Who is dodging?

          Is this supposed to be an example of responsible Christian scholarship? Of facing the questions squarely and going where the evidence leads?

          I’ve lost interest in a conversation where you’re just stonewalling.

          Oh, please.

          That is your goal, right? To get the government to make abortion illegal? I can’t imagine why you’d deny that government is central to your goal.

          I am indeed arguing that abortion should be illegal in most cases. I didn’t deny that. It didn’t come up. I thought we were talking about the merits of abortion, not how to legislate.

          But I’m not imposing my view, as liberals do by avoiding normal law-making processes and imposing their will through the courts. A topic for a different day. I’m simply making a case that you are welcome to disagree with, but it would be more effective without all the avoidance and pointing of fingers at me when I’ve answered every question over and over.

          How about simply talking about the issues instead of advocating and hiding behind the sham of “I don’t really have an opinion.” If you don’t, then don’t advocate as if you did.

        • Some responses out of turn. I believe you’re addressing Nicole.

          Perhaps your idea of avoiding frustration is that we all agree with your position.

          I thought there were shared assumptions about constructive discourse. My mistake.

          At least you are willing to go on record, which Bob is not.

          I don’t have anything meaningful to add to the discussion on that topic. Get over it.

          the classical Christian views are on moral topics

          When you say “classical” view, I assume you’re referring to some sort of longevity for this argument. Is that right? Where does this argument come from? I can’t think of any argument that would make a case that the Bible is unambiguously stating, “Life begins at conception.” But you know the Bible better than I do.

          So CONGRESS is restricted from establishing religion—that is the portion of religion that is separated from government interference. There is no law prohibiting persons of faith from expressing their views regarding moral issues,

          I’m a little surprised that we agree on this. I don’t remember you stating this position on separation-of-church-and-state issues.

        • OK. This is number four. I’m not avoiding your question. I now answer it a fourth time.

          Drum roll …

          The inherent characteristic that uninterrupted, it will develop into a fully formed independent human person.

          So that essence that a newborn has and a single cell doesn’t have is that they both have the potential to become a human?

          Strike four.

          I’ve lost interest in engaging with you on this question. I assume that was your goal. You win!

          You, however, refuse to say WHEN it is OK to abort and on what basis you make this determination, yet you advocate in favor of abortion.

          Right. I think I’ll let the experts decide. (But I repeat myself.)

          If you ask me about string theory or abiogenesis or nuclear fusion, I’m afraid that my answer will be another maddening: “I know my limits–I have no expertise in that field and nothing to offer to the conversation.” (Golly–what must you think of me now?)

          I am indeed arguing that abortion should be illegal in most cases.

          Then I guess you’re stuck with dealing with the government.

          This is why I was puzzled by your comment, “Government controls lots of choices, many including theft, fraud, the wording on my state inspection sticker and whether it is OK to kill. In some cases like self defense, it is. Abortion is not in that category.

          avoiding normal law-making processes and imposing their will through the courts.

          Whew! Thank God for the court system so that the Liberal Agenda® could be imposed on society. Imagine what would happen if we had to play by the rules!

        • So that essence that a newborn has and a single cell doesn’t have is that they both have the potential to become a human? Strike four.

          Nope. Same as point one. They have essential same-ness, not difference. They are more alike than different. That is why abortion is problematic at all stages, and not on a spectrum scale that the relativist invents. Life can’t always be reduced to a continuum we can invent and manipulate. That is the point. Not strike four.

          Then I guess you’re stuck with dealing with the government.

          I thought the blog was about what ought to be, not how to legislate it. Have you strayed into how to enforce your position through law?

          Imagine what would happen if we had to play by the rules!

          It would be a beautiful world.

          I’m a little surprised that we agree on this. I don’t remember you stating this position on separation-of-church-and-state issues.

          Indeed. I’m not surprised you know this. But I don’t think Nicole (and many others) do. It’s a basic constitutional law principle. But the schools don’t usually teach it that way any more.

        • They have essential same-ness, not difference.

          Yes, I get it. And that’s why this hasn’t answered my question.

          A single cell over is very different from a trillion-cell newborn. The newborn has eyes and ears, heart and circulatory system, brain and nervous system, stomach and digestive system, arms and legs, and so on. The single cell … well, it’s just a single microscopic cell with none of this.

          We agree on the similarlity; I’m trying to get clarity on the differences.

          The difference to me I label personhood–the newborn has it and the single cell doesn’t. I was trying to be cooperative by being flexible on the name and ask for your input on what this difference should be called. But, after many tries, you’re just going to refuse to play ball. Given your position, you just can’t acknowledge this difference, perhaps?

        • I acknowledge the difference in structure, but not in essence. There is more similarity between an almost viable fetus (which you might allow to be aborted—you refuse to say) and a 10 day old newborn. Kill ‘em both. They are more similar to each other than to the zygote in structure. I say let all three live. You would kill one but let the other two live, perhaps? How merciful. I think my position is more merciful to the baby and more consistent. You disagree.

          So my question to you remains the same. On what basis do you make the determination? What makes a baby one day or one month from viability eligible for death, but not the one later in gestation?

          You can’t advocate abortion without definitions. President Obama said this call is above his pay grade. But the policy decision that flows from his position is not. Kill anything in the womb has been his position if you look at his voting record. Do you support that?

          Go ahead. Go on the record.

        • They are more similar to each other than to the zygote in structure. I say let all three live.

          These sentences don’t go together. You’ve got (1) “an almost viable fetus,” with arms and legs, eyes and ears, and all the rest; (2) a 10-day-old newborn, with arms and legs, eyes and ears, and all the rest; and (3) a single cell that you can’t even see.

          Which of these things is not like the other?

          You can just arbitrarily say that you lump them all together in the Too Important to Kill category, and that choice is fine. But this is hardly an argument sufficient to impose your beliefs on the rest of us.

          I think my position is more merciful to the baby and more consistent. You disagree.

          Not really. Sort things as you see fit, just don’t impose your beliefs on the rest of the country.

          On what basis do you make the determination?

          Knowing my own limitations and using experts. You’d love to criticize whatever criterion I’d pick, and it would be a pointless argument. You’d say that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and you’d be right.

          Show me how you can’t see a spectrum without answering your question with a precise age and I’ll get into this morass. Otherwise, it’s a waste of my time.

          President Obama said this call is above his pay grade. But the policy decision that flows from his position is not.

          You seriously imagine that whatever date Obama says has any relevance to anything in this discussion? He could say 2 months or 4 months or 6 months or any date–who would care? Certainly not me. He’s not an expert, and he needs to leave it up to the experts. (Oh–wait a minute. He already said that. Never mind.)

  28. I’ve kind of forgotten what’s been said after reading all of that. The thing I do remember though is that you wrongfully called me a hypocrit.

    I am arguing for choice, not making people have an abortion. The reason why your argument is wrong to me is because then you’d be forcing others to live by your standards. Me arguing for a woman’s choice allows not having an abortion and having an abortion as well. That way your beliefs can still be practiced and mine can as well. Also, you took much of what I said and twisted my words.

    I’m done arguing with an incompetent dunderhead. By the way, putting unnecessary words into your argument in an attempt to make yourself sound intelligent was just dumb. If one of my students handed me a paper written with your style I’d probably fail them.

    • I find your reply interesting. You said you would fail me if I were your student, yet your writing contains misspelled words and grammatical errors, and calls your opponent names instead of dealing with the central arguments. I overlooked these, but if you are going to critique style, you leave yourself open to a similar assessment. I don’t thing there were no unnecessary words in my response, just legally accurate ones. You are free to disagree but that disagreement will be more effective if you actually tell me what I said that was wrong.

      As for your response proper, you said I was forcing my will on you, while you are not forcing yours on others. I understand your point, namely that under your view, a person can either do an act or not at their choice. However, your side also forces those whose moral dictates are opposed to abortion to support contraceptives and abortion even if it is in opposition to their conscience, as is the case with Catholics being forced to pay for procedures they find sinful. This is also coercion and force.

      And of course there is the consequence for the unborn, which according to the classical Christian view I have been describing (see Psalm 139:13, where David says God “knit [him] together in [his mother's] womb.”) According to that view, the baby is killed, and is not merely disposable tissue. So you would be advocating violence and forcing those who disagree to participate and pay for it. Any position we take has consequences, yours included.

      You’re welcome to call names and be insulting rather than answering the issues. But it diminishes your argument and makes it hard to take you seriously.

      • your side also forces those whose moral dictates are opposed to abortion to support contraceptives and abortion even if it is in opposition to their conscience, as is the case with Catholics being forced to pay for procedures they find sinful.

        Suppose someone worked for a Catholic organization and then used their salary to pay for contraceptives or an abortion. Is this also forcing Catholics to pay for something they find sinful?

        Anyone can find anything sinful, and I’m sure you’ll find someone scolding you for the sin of whistling on a Tuesday (sin from their perspective, of course) to be beneath consideration. Similarly, Catholics can choose to get offended as they please, but to burden someone else with this makes no sense.

        Catholic organizations are not above the law, I’m afraid. If religious tenets prohibited their hiring African-Americans, for example, that wouldn’t trump the civil rights laws. Same thing here.

        What the Catholics are mad about is that they’re no longer able to force their morality on non-Catholics. I’m unimpressed by this complaint, as you can imagine.

        Psalm 139:13

        In lieu of “Every pregnancy is sacred in the eyes of the LORD and none shall be prematurely terminated,” you don’t have a lot of evidence that God feels this way. He terminates half of all pregnancies himself with spontaneous miscarriages, and quote mining from the Good Book doesn’t do much to show that he cares.

        As disagreements go, this truly isn’t that big a deal. You want to call a microscopic cell a “baby,” go ahead. I’ve raised two myself, which makes me something of an expert in what “babies” are, and I completely disagree that a cell is a baby. But hey–if you want to call it that, go for it. It’s when you impose your beliefs on the rest of the country that things become problematic.

  29. Bob,

    A single cell over is very different from a trillion-cell newborn. The newborn has eyes and ears, heart and circulatory system, brain and nervous system, stomach and digestive system, arms and legs, and so on. The single cell … well, it’s just a single microscopic cell with none of this.

    When you were designing computer software, which was more sophisticated—the software you developed, or the intelligence and creativity of the programmer? Just as the programmer is the key, in the biological world, all three of the baby forms (zygote, premie, newborn) share the unimaginably complex world of the DNA that makes them unique individuals with the vector of development that in a few years will lead them to adult individuality. They are more similar than different.

    As for the President Obama discussion, you completely missed the point. It isn’t who is or is not smart enough to figure these things out. It is that as the President, he has made policy decisions that speak loudly that any baby in any womb is fair game to be slaughtered, in spite of his saying he wasn’t smart enough to decide when life begins. His policies state his conclusion loudly and clearly.

    Your advocating of abortion similarly jeopardizes newborns as you push for your position (as does Nicole), but you refuse to really play the game and define your terms, hiding behind the difficulty of the question. Sure it’s difficult. But you wrote a several piece series advocating your position and trying to make your opponents look foolish. Then you refuse to take a stand on what your position is or what your policy outcome would be?

    Again, this is only a shadow of an actual policy argument. It is weakened by your failure to address what the policy ought to be in your opinion. I get your point—you don’t want to be pinned down so that your ACTUAL position could then be criticized. But what IS the point if you are going to shirk the application of the position you claim to hold? It may seem like debating points can be gained, but I’m not willing to let you off the hook unchallenged.

    • the unimaginably complex world of the DNA that makes them unique individuals

      So where does it end? We sweep up newborn, 8-month-old fetus, and single cell, dismiss the differences, and say that humanity (expressed in the first two but only a potential in the cell) is all that matters. Do we lump into that the twinkle in my eye? If killing a single cell is equivalent to killing a newborn, what about the guy who “killed” a dozen or more potential children by deliberately limiting the number of pregnancies his wife had?

      as the President, he has made policy decisions that speak loudly that any baby in any womb is fair game to be “slaughtered,” in spite of his saying he wasn’t smart enough to decide when life begins.

      Sounds like I nailed it. Bingo!

      The mayor can say that parking in his town shouldn’t be free anymore without having to specify the exact policy (fees, fines for noncompliance, holiday hours, etc.). The general manager can delegate to a software team that they work on an entry-level word processing program without writing the specification. And the president can be in favor of abortion without dictating when the cutoff date is. It’s a team effort. It’s called “delegation.”

      you refuse to take a stand on what your position is or what your policy outcome would be?

      Not at all. I was very clear in my support for abortion. Details (cutoff date(s), exceptions, state vs. federal jurisdiction, how insurance should/shouldn’t be used, parental notification, allowable abortion methods, and on and on and on) are beyond my pay grade, to use a popular phrase. And off topic.

      I’m not willing to let you off the hook unchallenged.

      Then challenge me on something relevant to my position, which argues that there’s a spectrum of personhood.

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