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Anti-choicers arguing against me in absentia

Some Christian named Scott Klusendorf responded to my interview on Issues, etc., largely by distorting my position, misunderstanding what I said, and pretending to be a better authority on developmental biology than I am. I’ve copied a quick and sloppy transcript of parts of it from another Christian.

I guess I have to get used to the idea that if you give an interview to Christians, whether it’s the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church or Ray Comfort, they’re going to use it as an opportunity to make an incomprehending hash of whatever you say. (Apparently, they’re milking me hard: they had another 2 hour interview in which a theologian argues against me, but I haven’t bothered to listen.)

Myers: I could imagine a culture where a child doesn’t have the right to life until they are 5-years old

Mod: Myers is an atheist. He believes that standards of conduct are variable depending on what is dominant in a culture. Since cultures vary by time and place, and none is objectively right or wrong, then a 5-year limit for personhood is as valid as any other standard that might evolve. There is no way to judge between cultures against some objective standard

That’s correct. There is no magic objective standard to say when an organism is a person. We rely entirely on cultural perspectives to define when we grant that organism the rights and privileges of a full member of the culture. This does not imply that I personally approve of societies that treat a newborn as expendable, only that it’s clear that there is no objective or scientific boundary. We always rely on an arbitrary definition.

Mod (to Klus): Myers says that the unborn is a “piece of meat”. It’s not a person until well after birth. Do only atheists believe this?

Klus: No others hold them. But what is more interesting is that he just asserts his views, he never argues for them. He says that pro-lifers lie when debating this issue

Yes, anti-choicers lie. I didn’t go into detail on that because it was a short interview, but here’s one plain example: they claim life begins at conception. That’s nonsense no matter how you look at it. There is continuity of life for about 4 billion years; every human life comes from living gametes. The fertilized zygote cannot be legitimately called a “person” — it has none of the attributes of a conscious being, like awareness. As I have said repeatedly, personhood, consciousness, humanity, whatever you want to call it, emerges gradually over the course of development; it is not a magic zap that occurs instantaneously and allows you to say one moment, it’s not alive/human, the next moment it is.

Mod: (to Myers) What is the unborn?

Myers: It’s a piece of tissue that will develop into a human being over time

Mod: (to Myers) What is it 5 minutes before it’s born?

Myers: It’s fetus, it’s not a baby

Klus: The development stages of a human are all stages of development of the same entity, as even Peter Singer and David Boonin admit

Mod: He made a distinction between before birth and after birth

Klus: Yes, and that contradicts what he says later when he says there are no sharp boundaries

No it does not contradict my statements. Development is a continuous process of change. Continuous. A conceptus is different than a 3 month old embry is different from an 8 month fetus is different from a teenager, even if they are the same developing organism. The boundaries we confer on this process are arbitrary.

Klus: Myers is confusing parts with wholes. The skin cells on my hand are part of a larger human being. The embryo is not part of a larger human being, they are a whole human being, directing its own development

Klus: Myers also makes the claim that embryos are constructed piece by piece from the outside. But the science of embryology is clear – the embryo develops itself.

Say what? I have never claimed any such thing. There are autonomous processes in development; in mammals like us, however, there is also an extended dependency on the parent. You can’t say either of those things: embryos are not externally constructed, and they also do not develop entirely on their own.

It’s like these people have a pathological need to slice everything into absolutely rigid boundaries and are incapable of comprehending a gradual process.

Mod (to Myers): Is the unborn a person?

Myers: Personhood develops gradually. A newborn baby is not a person. A baby’s brain is still forming so it’s not a person. There is no specific moment when a baby becomes a person. It is culturally determined. Our society says it’s birth. Some people say viability. Either of those are acceptable to me

Mod: (to Myers): So drawing the line between unborn and born is arbitrary?

Myers: Yes it is

These guys have a really rough time grasping this simple idea. Yes, it’s arbitrary. Different cultures draw the line in different ways. Would it help them to read their Bibles, in which inducing an abortion is not regarded in the same way as committing murder? Even their own religious tradition draws a different line than they do!

Let’s watch their argument get really offensive:

Klus: He is separating human beings into classes: persons and non-persons. This has resulted in injustices, historically speaking. E.g. – with American Indians

Klus: He says that a human being becomes a person when their brain is fully developed, but even teens don’t have fully developed brains

Klus: Look at this scientific evidence from PBS about NIH research which shows that brains still developing in teens and it causes them to make poor decisions

Klus: If development gives us value, then those with more of it have more of a right to life than those with less

Klus: This point was made by Lincoln in his debates about slavery, when he warned his opponent that someone with lighter skin could enslave him

Wait. So if we decide that a blastula is not a fully developed human being, then that can be used to legitimize enslaving black people? Why? Are they making the implication that they are less fully developed than white people? Who is walking around with “more development” than other people?

Look, if you’ve made the cultural decision that newborn babies have a right to live, you’re done: you cannot now say that American Indians or black people or teenagers are lesser than a newborn white baby. There is no difference in the developmental status of different human races. How do these people even make such an argument without realizing the fundamental racism of their assumptions?

Mod (to Myers): How do you decide these life issues?

Myers: We use the notion of “greater good”

Mod (to Myers): that’s a culturally determined notion?

Myers: Yes. The greater good here is that we maximize the security and happiness of most people in the society. Women are persons, so we favor their rights.

Klus: His response begs the question. He is assuming that the unborn are not human persons. He talks about the need for women’s rights. Are unborn women included in those who have rights?

You know, they did this constantly through the show, using this bizarre phrase, “Unborn X”. There are no unborn women. It’s as nonsensical as looking at a tree and saying it is an unbuilt house, or calling a cow an uncooked hamburger. A house is not a tree and a cow is not a meat patty; we give them different names to reflect their very different state.

We should give “unborn women” all the deference and protections we provide for nonexistent women, or imaginary women, or fantasy women, that is, none. Perhaps if these fellows were more respectful of the rights of real women, they wouldn’t be saying these stupid things.

I also have to add another thing to my statements. It’s not just the notion of greater good, but also of empathy. I can see that women and teenagers black people and babies and kids with Down syndrome and other adult men have an inner world, goals and ideas, and I can empathize with them — I no more want harm to come to them than I do to myself. I want to live in a society that defends them, because I want to live in a society that defends me.

An embryo has none of those elements of self-awareness that make it a relatable conscious being. I do not want to live in a society that fetishizes a gastrula over my wife or daughter.

Klus: If cultures decide who is and who is not a person, then he cannot oppose cultures that say that Jews are not persons, or that women are not persons

Klus: He admits that he cannot oppose cultures that think that children of age 5 are not persons, and can be killed

Really? I did? I don’t think so. Hey, look, there’s an example of a “pro-lifer” lying!

I said I could imagine cultures that defer granting personhood until a baby reaches a certain age. That’s actually fairly common; Victorian Europe, for instance, exhibited a marked reticence about the status of newborns, with individuals often waiting a year or more to give them a name, because infant mortality was so high. I can easily imagine a culture that thinks Jews are not persons — I just have to crack a history book.

And I certainly can oppose infant mortality and Nazis. I can recognize that those are symptoms of an unhealthy society that I would not want to live in, and that they do great harm to conscious, living persons.

Mod (to Myers): You call that kind of society “brutal”, why do you say that?

Myers: It’s my personal preference because I like my own kids

Mod (to Klus): Respond to that

Klus: He has no argument, just his own opinion. He cannot oppose any society that things that it is OK to traffic, kill, etc. 5-year-olds

Klus: He says that he has a personal preference. That is an interesting fact about his psychology, but he has no argument

I was not making an argument there. I did not think I had to — I assumed the interviewer and the audience would all share my personal views that kids are good people.

If I’d been asked a little more, like about why I like my kids, I could have gone deeper. My kids were not possessions. They were not things I liked like my iPad or my fluffy pillow — they were people I respected because they had personalities and interests of their own, and one of the things you quickly appreciate (if you’re not a psychopathic quiverful Christian who sees children as tools to deploy) is that they really are thinking, reacting, learning, growing human beings. Again with the empathy! They deserve protection because they do have attributes like autonomy and curiosity and affection and many others that are of human value.

Klus: In an atheistic worldview, human beings at any stage are cosmic accidents

Klus: How do we get any kind of intrinsic value and human rights out of an atheist worldview? I don’t see how you can

At last, something they get right, sort of. You can’t derive intrinsic human rights from an atheist view. There aren’t any. Values and rights are emergent properties of communities of people. Note: that does not say that values and rights don’t exist, it says that they are generated by the interactions of individuals in a group, and not imposed from above.

Klus: Even a woman’s absolute right to an abortion is not grounded by atheism

That’s actually an interesting and complex point. It’s true; atheism in and of itself says nothing about how human beings should treat other human beings. The absence of a caretaker god does not say you couldn’t build a patriarchal atheistic society that held women and other races as chattel. Or a Libertarian atheist society built on Ayn Rand’s hideous values. Or an inward-looking nationalistic and secular society that had no problem with maintaining its security by raining bombs down on every other nation on earth.

Atheism is only the start; it frees you from destructive traditions and throws off the shackles of dogma. The next part is the hard part: you have to think consciously about how you want civilization to operate, and you have to make commitments to other values, like humanism.

Atheism does not tell me women have rights. That I can look at women with eyes unfogged by superstitious nonsense and see that they are my equals tells me that women have rights.

Mod (to Myers): What do you think of the pro-life movement?

Myers: I’m a developmental biologist. The pro-life movement is lying to people. An embryo is not a person. “Personhood implies much more than being a piece of meat with the right number of chromosomes in it”. The primary issue in abortion is women’s autonomy. It is entirely the woman’s decision

Klusendorf: You have to present arguments to prove that pro-lifers are lying. There are pro-abortion scholars who have arguments, he isn’t one. He only has assertions, opinions and preferences.

Klusendorf: What if a woman gets pregnant solely in order to take a drug during pregnancy in order to have a deformed child. Myers has no argument against that

“Pro-lifers” consciously make claims that are false, and yes, I have made arguments against the anti-choice position, many times. That Klusendorf thinks a brief wide-ranging interview contains the entirety of my position is his problem.

As I said at that link,

We don’t have to revere every block of rough marble because another Michaelangelo could come along and sculpt it into something as wonderful as his David; we don’t have to treasure every scrap of canvas because the next Picasso is going to use it for a masterpiece. The value isn’t in the raw materials, but in the pattern, the skill, the art put into it. Similarly, those cells are simply the raw clay that the process and time will sculpt into something that is worth love and care.

Which is more important, the pigments or the painting? Even worse, do you think the pigments are the painting?

And speaking of non-existent arguments, the transcriber cut off a lot of the absurd details Klusendorf made up at the end. He went on at painful length: what if a woman got pregnant just so she could take a drug that made the fetus limbless? What if she refused to give birth by taking drugs that kept the fetus small and held it inside for 70 years?

Yeah, you’re damn right I have no argument against that. Because they’re the bizarre hypotheticals of a bigoted ideologue who’s incapable of recognizing women as conscious moral agents on their own, and is reduced to fighting against nonexistent, imaginary women who do random freakish things during their pregnancy for no reason at all.

But then, I guess that’s what you’d expect of a guy who believes in “unborn women” — no attachment to reality at all.

Comments

  1. says

    By the way, I did listen to a little bit of that theologian’s argument. Funniest bit: he’s arguing that Jesus was a real person, and he actually announces that he had to have been alive, because our entire calendar is based on him.

    All hail Thor!

  2. says

    They suffer from two basic confusions:
    1) The drawing of sharp boundaries on continua.
    2) The need to derive everything deductively from some set of first principles, as if reality was like Euclidean geometry.

    Yes, the fact that important moral boundaries are drawn arbitrarily based on a possibly-unstable cultural consensus is uncomfortable. But of course they fail to acknowledge (an ignorance that amounts to dishonesty) that their own morality, and that of the historical cultures of which they approve, came about in exactly the same way — a bunch of people agreed that a particular interpretation of the Bible (often with some unexamined metaphysics smuggled in from Greece) would be normative for society, and imposed it.

  3. kantalope says

    In addition to not being able to cope with the continuum – there also seems to be an element of the name for something having some kind of magical connection to the actual thing. Aristotle won’t you just die already?

    Most important part is: “I do not want to live in a society that fetishizes a gastrula over my wife or daughter.”

    They seem to be awfully worried about the health of preborn womenfolk and next to nothing about the postbirthcanal types.

  4. Reginald Selkirk says

    Mod: Myers is an atheist. He believes that standards of conduct are variable depending on what is dominant in a culture. Since cultures vary by time and place, and none is objectively right or wrong, then a 5-year limit for personhood is as valid as any other standard that might evolve. There is no way to judge between cultures against some objective standard

    Human cultures vary a lot with regard to when people are old enough to vote, to drink, to drive, to have consensual sex. That a different standard might apply to “personhood” doesn’t seem a huge stretch.

  5. says

    The claim that the society needs to decide an arbitrary point where a fetus turns into a person is unfounded. No, we don’t. Also, being categorically pro-choice is not a reasonable (or less strongly, good) position as far as utilitarianism is concerned.

    There is a much better measure available: sentience. And a fetus’ sentience increases with time. Denying a fetus any moral relevance before an arbitrarily-defined point is, well, arbitrary. Even Dawkins agreed in this interview with Singer that no line be drawn or defined when claims regarding moral relevance of sentient beings are made.

    For example, to decide whether an abortion is moral at a certain stage e.g. x weeks from conception, we need to plug in values in this formula which aims to provide a first-approximation:

    Increase in aggregate well-being = (Increase in well-being of the woman by abortion)*(sentience of the woman) + (-1 * Pain expressed as decrease in well-being of fetus when aborted)*(sentience of fetus)

    If it’s greater than zero, the abortion is moral. Now, I agree that we cannot get crisp answers out of this but we can certainly come to know when we are going in the wrong direction. So, aborting a fetus one day (or even one month) before its born would be immoral in a lot of circumstances.

    Drawing arbitrary lines is dangerous and need not be done. To see this, consider the fact that animals are denied all rights just because they do not seem to cross an arbitrary line defined by our culture. This arbitrary line makes people see any amount of pain in an animal of less moral relevance than a bit of pleasure of human.

  6. says

    Increase in aggregate well-being = (Increase in well-being of the woman by abortion)*(sentience of the woman) + (-1 * Pain expressed as decrease in well-being of fetus when aborted)*(sentience of fetus)

    Uh, you do realize that throwing out an arbitrary formula filled with numerical variables for phenomena that can’t be measured quantitatively is rank pseudoscience, right? I don’t care if your result favors my position or not — that’s pure garbage.

  7. D says

    I think the “preborn X” terminology is rooted in the idea that every “person” exists outside of the physical. That whole eternal soul thing, that exists before and after someone actually lives. It is also probably why there is such a problem with the gradual development thing, because the belief that regardless of the physical changes, the core of a person that matters, the soul, is constant. This would be the same for someone who lives to 100 or an embryo that never develops further. Nonsensical, but probably an immutable premise for many christian anti-choicers.

  8. raven says

    I guess I have to get used to the idea that if you give an interview to Christians, whether it’s the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church or Ray Comfort, they’re going to use it as an opportunity to make an incomprehending hash of whatever you say.

    1. You should know that by now. They do that to everyone, all the time.

    2. You know they are going to quote mine and lie about whatever you said. Even if there is an independent record. Lying is a sacred duty of theirs. Or an irresistible compulsion.

    3. So why bother with giving interviews with them.? In case you haven’t noticed, there are dozens of atheist leaders. Most of them won’t do it.

  9. raven says

    There are mountains of evidence that the xian gods don’t exist.

    One of the strongest is…xians.

    If their religion was true, they wouldn’t have to lie all the time.

    It’s all fantasy and make believe and most of them even know it on some level.

  10. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Arpit Chauhan

    If it’s greater than zero, the abortion is moral. Now, I agree that we cannot get crisp answers out of this but we can certainly come to know when we are going in the wrong direction.

    In the first sentence you give a pretty crisp answer, and in the second you say that we can’t get crisp answers from this.
    It’s vaguely amusing.

    Drawing arbitrary lines is dangerous and need not be done.

    Your formula is an arbitrary line.

  11. says

    Because my habit is to engage. Your suggestion is the broader equivalent of “do not feed the trolls” — but what I can do here is both talk to the Christians and then get their own responses to expose their mendacity.

  12. says

    I think that arguing from development and pain and what you got is a false start already.
    The point is that as a society we have agreed that nobody is to use somebody else’s body without permision. Doesn’t matter if fertilized eggs get personhood (but it would make a mess of population statistics). No person has that right, fetuses don’t get it either.

    But yeah, saying what you think as they make it up as they go along is basically lying.

  13. raven says

    and he actually announces that he (jesus) had to have been alive, because our entire calendar is based on him.

    Theologians are just people who get paid for lying and making up lies for the other xians.

    All the days of the week are named after Pagan gods. Today is Thor’s day. Tomorrow is Wotan’s day.

    Most of the months of the year are named after Roman gods. A few are rather unimaginatively named after numbers, August is named after Ceasar Augustus, who was elevated to god status after death. June is named after Juno and so on.

    I suppose this means all those Pagan and Roman gods and goddesses are actually real then, according to fundie theologian reasoning.

    PS Missouri synod Lutherans are fundies, every bit as ugly as anything the fundies have produced. Sectarian labels don’t mean much these days.

  14. Randomfactor says

    He cannot oppose any society that things that it is OK to traffic, kill, etc. 5-year-olds

    God told them to. So he can’t oppose it either.

  15. unbound says

    Far, far, far too much nuance for xtians. They want simple answers that fit on small note cards, not knowledge, facts, information or (worst of all) thoughts. It is interesting to see them jump through hoops when you ask them to tell you the difference between a toddler and a child and a tween and a teenager without using a specific yearly number.

  16. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    You want a formula Arpit? (I read that as armpit for some reason) Here’s one…

    Bodily autonomy of the woman >> everything else

    Surprisingly useful formula, apply it everywhere.

  17. says

    “What if a woman gets pregnant solely in order to take a drug during pregnancy in order to have a deformed child? Myers has no argument against that.”

    WTF? I think my brain just broke trying to parse this out and find a hint of logic or rationality for even asking this particular question.

  18. says

    Your formula is an arbitrary line.

    The formula is just an approximation. And, it’s just a crude way to express how one can think about a moral problem in terms of well-being while caring about every sentient being in proportion to its sentience. And no matter how arbitrary it is, it cannot be more arbitrary than a “line.” Arbitrarily excluding sentient beings according to one’s whims is not only arbitrary but undermines the whole notion of morality, itself. If everyone could pick and choose which being gets moral relevance according to his/her convenience, then what is the use of that system of morality. Or in Sam Harris’ words, what is morality if not the maximizing of aggregate well-being of conscious creatures.

    And one can easily see how that crude expression is more consistent. Think about what’s better: Attaching no moral relevance to a being 1 hour before time t, but considerable moral relevance just after time t OR attaching almost the same moral relevance if the sentience is approx. the same. (Of course, in case of abortion, before birth, woman’s wishes factor in too.)

    In the first sentence you give a pretty crisp answer, and in the second you say that we can’t get crisp answers from this.

    Yes, that’s a mistake I made. The first sentence implies a certainty that isn’t present.

  19. NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase says

    Or in Sam Harris’ words, what is morality if not the maximizing of aggregate well-being of conscious creatures.

    What about bodily autonomy? I mean, a lot of people would live longer if everyone was forced to give up a kidney and a lung.

  20. doublereed says

    It’s important to engage. Statements like this one:

    Klusendorf: You have to present arguments to prove that pro-lifers are lying. There are pro-abortion scholars who have arguments, he isn’t one. He only has assertions, opinions and preferences.

    are blatantly unfair to anyone listening. Everyone is aware that the interviewer was just asking questions and PZ was answering them. It’s inappropriate and ridiculous to expect a massive dissertation or something.

    Having these conversations is actually quite a good thing. What, you think everyone in their congregation necessarily agrees with them?

    However, whenever I have abortion arguments, I try to keep things ruthlessly pragmatic and try not to get sucked into their bullshit theoretical arguments at all. But you’re a biologist and stuff, so you might be better at discussing the developmental processes involved.

  21. raven says

    PZ Myers:

    Because my habit is to engage. Your suggestion is the broader equivalent of “do not feed the trolls” — but what I can do here is both talk to the Christians and then get their own responses to expose their mendacity.

    A twofer. OK.

    There are costs here, dealing with slime molds and knowing they will chop, slice, and distort anything you say.

    There are benefits, I guess. Talking to xians (hmm, this is a benefit?) and pointing out their lies.

    So how do the Costs-Benefits calculate out?

    This will, of course, differ from person to person. It won’t work for a lot of people though.

  22. Thumper; Immorally Inferior Sergeant Major in the Grand Gynarchy Mangina Corps (GGMC) says

    What if a woman gets pregnant solely in order to take a drug during pregnancy in order to have a deformed child. Myers has no argument against that.

    What!?

    *rolls on floor laughing*

  23. Nick Gotts says

    There is a much better measure available: sentience. And a fetus’ sentience increases with time. – Arpit Chauhan

    There’s no evidence a fetus is sentient at any stage before birth: oxygen perfusion of the brain in the fetus appears to be at levels incompatible with consciousness post-birth. However, even if this were not so, the fetus would have no right to use the pregnant woman’s body to stay alive, unless you are an advocate of compulsory donations from any immunologically compatible person of blood, one kidney, a part of the liver, etc., in order to keep someone else alive. Are you?

    I actually disagree with PZ that birth is an arbitrary dividing line. It’s not the only possible one, but nature seldom provides us with such a clearly non-arbitrary basis for ethical distinctions. Quite apart from the fact that the fetus is anatomically and physiologically part of the mother’s body, birth is a time of profound physiological change.

  24. says

    Klusendorf: What if a woman gets pregnant solely in order to take a drug during pregnancy in order to have a deformed child.

    Wha…? Like, how is that a thing? It doesn’t even make sense on its own terms. “Get pregnant in order to take a drug during pregnancy”? I can’t process what’s going on in Not-a-Klu’s head to produce this phrase. Is it some twisted reference to thalidomide? He must know that that was a horrible accident, mustn’t he?

  25. rowanvt says

    Arpit @27-

    Um… a person in kidney failure who got a kidney would not only live longer but also have greater well-being. Significantly so. Same with someone who needs a lung, or a new liver.

  26. raven says

    What if a woman gets pregnant solely in order to take a drug during pregnancy in order to have a deformed child? Myers has no argument against that.”

    WTF? I think my brain just broke trying to parse this out and find a hint of logic or rationality.

    Myers has no argument against that because it is a nonsense question in the first place. Neither does anyone else.

    How often does this happen? About zero. But there is a good answer.

    Whoever came up with that silly question will go to hell and be repetitively torched by all the strawpeople they murdered in their life. Won’t someone think of all the poor strawpeople malevolently burned by the xians?

  27. Nick Gotts says

    You equate living longer with greater well-being.

    Yes, given the choice, most people prefer to be a transplant recipient rather than die. Now, how about you try answering the point honestly?

  28. says

    D–

    I think the “preborn X” terminology is rooted in the idea that every “person” exists outside of the physical. That whole eternal soul thing, that exists before and after someone actually lives.

    *lightbulb!*

  29. consciousness razor says

    He believes that standards of conduct are variable depending on what is dominant in a culture.

    In fact they are! Should they be that way?

    There is no way to judge between cultures against some objective standard

    That’s correct. There is no magic objective standard to say when an organism is a person.

    What bullshit. These do not say remotely the same thing. A claim like “X is Y” isn’t of the same form as “we should do X.”

    And your insertion of the word “magic” is just a display of pompous, gratuitous ignorance about the subject. The subject being ethics, not biology or organisms in case you’ve forgotten. When these theists actually do start talking about fucking magic, go ahead and pick on them about it — then your objections might actually mean something.

    We rely entirely on cultural perspectives to define when we grant that organism the rights and privileges of a full member of the culture. This does not imply that I personally approve of societies that treat a newborn as expendable, only that it’s clear that there is no objective or scientific boundary. We always rely on an arbitrary definition.

    Are you using “objective” and “scientific” interchangeably? And if it’s not that (or neither), you think that implies it’s “arbitrary”?

    And you’re not a “culture” as far as I’m concerned. So when you approve something which doesn’t conform to “what is dominant” in your own culture, what kind of claim do you think you would be making?

  30. Thumper; Immorally Inferior Sergeant Major in the Grand Gynarchy Mangina Corps (GGMC) says

    @Raven, 14

    Today is Tyr’s day, actually. Thursday is Thor’s day. And Wednesday is indeed Woden’s day, A.K.A. Wotan, or Wodan, or Odin, depending on which bit of Europe you came from and at what time. And Saturday is Saturn’s day. And Sunday is… well, Sun Day. And Monday is Moon day. The evidence of our pagan past is everywhere; a fact that gives me great pleasure whenever I hear an xian spout off :)

  31. says

    There’s no evidence a fetus is sentient at any stage before birth: oxygen perfusion of the brain in the fetus appears to be at levels incompatible with consciousness post-birth.

    First absence of evidence doesn’t mean evidence of absence. The opinions I have seen from reputed organizations claim expressly that a fetus can’t feel pain before 24 weeks from conception. But, they seem to remain silent on whether it can feel pain after 24 weeks. If the fetus can’t feel pain before birth (even a day before), then I will agree that it would be (definitely) moral to abort.

    However, even if this were not so, the fetus would have no right to use the pregnant woman’s body to stay alive.

    Any mention of rights seems to be misleading. We’re talking about morality. It might be my right to do whatever law allows e.g. indoctrinating my children with religion and so on, but that’s clearly not moral. And in another sense, a person trying to hide from four gangsters (intending to kill him) near your home doesn’t have a right to take temporary shelter in home, but it would be immoral (usually) for you to not allow him that.

  32. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    (Of course, in case of abortion, before birth, woman’s wishes factor in too.)

    Well, Arpit Chauhan. Aren’t you generous. The way you phrase that makes it look like a rather reluctant allowance, here.

    And yes, I am taking issue with the fact that the person whose body is involved is being reduced to a parenthal in your hypothesis and doesn’t even figure into your equation of how to judge the morality of said person, whose body is the one involved

  33. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Arpit Chauhan ,

    You equate living longer with greater well-being.

    Uh, bad way to play it, since you’re equating being alive with greater well-being.
    Hint: nowhere do you acknowledge decrease of well-being for an unwanted baby being born

    Seriously, your little formulas are bullshit. NO matter if you tweak it a bit. Every single thing you can put there is arbitrarily determined. Just because you take a few arbitrary numbers together, multiply them and maybe do some other mathematiky stuff to them, it doesn’t make the result any less arbitrary in relation to morality of abortion.

  34. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Or alternatively, Gen just can’t maths and missed the first line of the equation.

  35. NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase says

    Arpit @27

    Let me postulate that everyone who is currently on a transplant list would rather have a new organ than be dead.

    People die on transplant lists. You can get exact stats here.

    Let me additionally postulate that humans really only need one lung, one kidney, and most humans can afford to lose a lobe of their liver for a good cause.

    Might I ask you: Why do you think that allowing someone to die on a transplant list is more socially good than giving them a transplant?

  36. says

    And yes, I am taking issue with the fact that the person whose body is involved is being reduced to a parenthal in your hypothesis and doesn’t even figure into your equation of how to judge the morality of said person, whose body is the one involved

    Clearly, you’re misrepresenting me by cherry-picking! I was talking about a generic case there not abortion. But had to indicate that in abortion there are multiple factors unlikethe generic case. See the full thing:

    Think about what’s better: Attaching no moral relevance to a being 1 hour before time t, but considerable moral relevance just after time t OR attaching almost the same moral relevance if the sentience is approx. the same. (Of course, in case of abortion, before birth, woman’s wishes factor in too.)

  37. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Gen,

    The first line being there doesn’t mean much, since it gets filled with numbers pulled out of someone’s ass anyway. Yeah, woman’s well being would be taken into account…. But anything less than 100% is too little.

  38. says

    You equate living longer with greater well-being.

    Premise 1: Ignorance is bliss.

    Premise 2: Being in utero is the most perfect state of ignorance possible.

    Conclusion: Nobody enjoys better well-being than before they are born.

    Perhaps the most compassionate thing, then, is to abort ALL fetuses.

    P.S. I’m just making fun of your lousy arguments. I don’t really think that.

  39. Nick Gotts says

    Arpit Chauhan

    First absence of evidence doesn’t mean evidence of absence.

    This is a particularly stupid piece of nonsense. There is an absence of evidence of unicorns living in London. This is indeed evidence that there are no unicorns living in London. I gave a positive reason to believe that a fetus is not sentient.

    Any mention of rights seems to be misleading. We’re talking about morality.

    No, this is not an abstract or hypothetical argument about morality. It’s a vital issue of the rights of pregnant women to bodily autonomy, which is denied or under increasing threat in many places. I’d say it’s highly immoral of you to treat it as something you’re free to quibble about.

  40. Nick Gotts says

    Arpit Chauhan,

    I’d also ask you: do you consider it immoral for someone to refuse to donate a kidney or part of their liver to a person who will die without it? You still have not dealt with this comparison.

  41. says

    Uh, bad way to play it, since you’re equating being alive with greater well-being.
    Hint: nowhere do you acknowledge decrease of well-being for an unwanted baby being born

    See the phrase “increase in woman’s well-being by abortion” includes that. And very importantly, I am not equating being alive with well-being. Well-being has to do with (again crudely put) happiness, pleasure and satisfaction. I’m more interested in fetus’ pain than its life. (I may have almost no interest in its life, per se.) That’s why if a fetus can be killed with zero pain, I can’t see any problem.

    And forget the formula if it looks mathematical or a piece of show-off. Just think “maximizing aggregate well-being.” That phrase is agreed upon to represent morality by utilitarian philosophers and Sam Harris too. [I’m not appealing to authority, just indicating that I haven’t created it out of no-where.]

    I won’t reply to any complaints about the “formula” anymore. The whole discussion can be had without that crude piece of shit. Just think of maximizing aggregate well-being, instead of distorting my points!

  42. says

    Any mention of rights seems to be misleading. We’re talking about morality.

    How moral is it for a third party to assume that a being of questionable sentience has the right to force you to donate your organs to that being and to enforce that semi-sentient being’s right against your will?

  43. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just think of maximizing aggregate well-being,

    Word salad. Nothing solid to discuss there.

  44. raven says

    Preborn is just fundie gibberish from their manual, Orwell’s 1984. It’s Newspeak.

    It’s naming things for what they will end up.

    Car = Prescrap metal.

    Food = Presewage.

    Tuesday = Prewednesday

    Day =Prenight

    Humans = Predeads

    So, since this is Prewednesday Prenight, I’m going out with some Predeads in my Prescrap metal to have some Presewage.

  45. says

    May I remind you: Savita Halappanavar

    Again, isn’t it self-evidently clear that under the utilitarian system I’m referring to, if it’s a woman’s life is in danger, abortion would be preferred at all costs???

  46. raven says

    Just think of maximizing aggregate well-being,

    Word salad. Nothing solid to discuss there.

    We could maximize the world’s aggregate well being by putting the troll named Aprit Chauhan in a small row boat and pointing it towards Hawaii and telling them to get lost.

    It isn’t like it is doing anything worthwhile except wasting oxygen, electrons, and photons and taking up space.

    There is no way to determine aggregate well being. It’s all opinion.

    Whatever. I’m maximizing my aggregate well being by ignoring it and doing something more worthwhile.

  47. Randomfactor says

    It is morally wrong to continue a pregnancy until birth, if you believe that aborted fetuses, being innocent, go to heaven. Pascal’s Procedure.

  48. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Arpit Chauhan,
    no one is distorting your points.
    You introduced a formula because you claimed that making up what you called an arbitrary line was wrong. Then you denounced the formula and invited us to think… of an arbitrary line.
    To put it simply: you have no point.

  49. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Again, isn’t it self-evidently clear that under the utilitarian system I’m referring to, if it’s a woman’s life is in danger, abortion would be preferred at all costs???

    Actually no, since it’s a line of sophistry from start to finish, with a pretend equation to back it up.

  50. consciousness razor says

    Again, isn’t it self-evidently clear that under the utilitarian system I’m referring to, if it’s a woman’s life is in danger, abortion would be preferred at all costs???

    I’m not seeing any self-evidence here. The fetus’ life is certainly in danger, in any abortion, so why wouldn’t that be just as much a concern (or the terms in your “equation” cancel out)? You seem to be measuring it in terms of the pain fetuses might feel if they’re aborted (but not the pain they’ll certainly feel during their lives, if they’re not aborted, since everyone experiences pain). What people are generally saying is that this is not even relevant, because it’s an issue of autonomy anyway: women’s and whether they have it or not, in the way men have it when they can refuse to allow others to use their bodies or body parts. (In fact that counts for everyone, not just men, but only when the recipient isn’t a fetus… because that’s when it doesn’t affect men.)

    But for whatever confused reason, PZ bit the bullet on the “personhood” argument anyway. Perhaps just to throw the theists off the scent of the good arguments?

  51. Azuma Hazuki says

    Has anyone asked the anti-choicers what they intend to do for all the unwanted babies? It’s odd they they only seem to care for for unborn while they’re…well…unborn. It’s almost as if they have some kind of internal delusion that AFTER birth something happens to make them evil and useless and abominable in the eyes of God…

  52. says

    If you think “maximizing aggregate well-being” is just a word salad or arbitrary, I would advise you to read some moral philosophy. (Singer and Harris preferable. Of course, you’ll say you have a right not to read anything. So your wish.) That formula is a crude way to express that and is totally dispensable. (but why when you can just say it’s garbage and pretend it’s refuted. And it’s not a scientifically testable formula and neither does it make any scientifically testable predictions, so that means it’s not pseudo-scientific.)

    No amount of clarification or argumentation is enough if the intent is to rip apart those who disagree rather than have a civil debate. Cherry-picking lines, making fun of names etc. If that is what you’re going to keep doing, I’m out.

    By the way, if you think that you might be wrong some times, read Dan Fincke’s excellent article. It’s not directly related to this, but it has some excellent points.

    Of course, I wrote all that knowing that you’ll rip me apart, again.

  53. vaiyt says

    There is a much better measure available: sentience.

    Here’s a much better one: the woman’s bodily autonomy. Newsflash: it does not matter how sentient a fetus is, because it is inside another living person who also has personhood rights.

  54. unclefrogy says

    this post really illustrates the almost total disconnect with reality and life that religion fosters.
    The reluctance to accept the reality of life and instead live in a story in which you can live forever is powerful. The reaction seems generated by panic. the arguments against positions not taken would make little sense even if they even if they were not based on distortions, They just seem incapable of actually hearing and understanding what anyone else is saying. I will go farther ans suggest that they have a real difficulty of really seeing anyone else as whole persons at all.
    That is the part that scars me the most because history has shown that the religious are cappable of almost anything in order to not be disturbed by reality.
    uncle frogy

  55. vaiyt says

    If you think “maximizing aggregate well-being” is just a word salad or arbitrary, I would advise you to read some moral philosophy.

    For every fetus forcefully brought to term, there’s a woman whose basic personhood is being violated. Forced birth policies result in more unwanted children and many deaths of women due to illegal abortions. How’s that “maximizing aggregate well-being” at all?

  56. NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase says

    If you think “maximizing aggregate well-being” is just a word salad or arbitrary, I would advise you to read some moral philosophy.

    Please actually defend why this is a good standard. Hint. I’ve read Harris. Not impressed.

  57. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    No wait, I think I’m getting it.

    So if a patient on the transplant list is just in enough pain, someone could morally be forced to donate the organ the recipient needs, because utilitarianism and maximizing aggregate well-being? (Both still get to live with one kidney afterwards, after all! If you didn’t force the donation, nobody would have donated and one person would have died while another walks around with two perfectly good kidneys!

    So seriously now, are you still willing to stand by this?

  58. says

    For a moment I thought I knew of a pro-life argument that granted a continuum; but on reflection, I realize I was mistaken. It’s the argument that exactly because we can’t be sure when the fetus (or pre-fetus) begins to have rights, we should therefore set the line of demarcation earlier rather later. But I realize now they’re probably saying that there IS a line of demarcation independent of human judgment, which we, limited as we are, are not able to ascertain.

    Incidentally, that pro-life argument ultimately reinforced the pro-choice position in my mind. If we can’t in any sense “know” when the fetus begins to have rights, we shouldn’t criminalize abortion, as criminal law is properly directed only at known evils (really, I suppose, evils as to which a robust consensus exists), not hypothetical ones.

  59. mbrysonb says

    I’ve had a small-scale version of the same experience, which I both expected and somehow still was nearly stunned by. In a debate over abortion rights and Canadian law (with a pretty, young and pregnant woman as my opponent) I criticized her organization for claiming, on its website, that there was a strong association between abortion and breast cancer, based on a link to single, very sloppy study (as I recall, the ‘control’ population was a sample of women contacted by telephone and asked whether they had ever had an abortion) . I pointed out that much larger, better-controlled studies had shown no link between abortion and breast cancer. The response from the audience (by a man I had known years before as one of my son’s teachers) was to accuse me of having no real argument for my view, since I had merely “attacked” my opponent by raising this point. Somehow I suspect that, being convinced their opponents are moral monsters from the outset, they simply take anything we say as confirming that judgement…

  60. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    It’s the argument that exactly because we can’t be sure when the fetus (or pre-fetus) begins to have rights, we should therefore set the line of demarcation earlier rather later.

    The rights of the fetus is a bit of a red herring, because if no one else has the right to use someone else’s organs without continuing consent, why would we assume that it’s a right a fetus is entitled to in the first place?

    And once again, a reminder: Late-term abortions are most commonly referred to as “induction of labour” or even “elective pre-term caesarean section” and theoretically causes no more pain or suffering to the soon-to-be baby than waiting for full-term does (minor health implications aside).

  61. Don Quijote says

    Arpit Chauhan:

    It might not be a good idea to “advise” people here to read Singer and Harris.

  62. says

    There is a much better measure available: sentience.

    That would be a useful secondary argument, if we knew how to measure it. Do you?

    Is a dolphin or a chimp sentient? How about a dog? A mouse? An octopus?

    If there is a continuum of sentience, where do you draw the line at which level of sentience it stops being acceptable to kill the organism?

  63. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Sorry, previous post first paragraph was addressed to aaronbaker, 66 and second to Arpit Chauhan, who was talking about “one hour before birth” and all that.

  64. Carlos Ribeiro da Fonseca says

    What if a woman gets pregnant solely in order to take a drug during pregnancy in order to have a deformed child

    Yeah, because having deformed children is so much fun!

    And you know what’s even funnier? Being that child and spending months and months in an hospital and not really having a normal childhood.

    Yeah, real fun!

  65. mbrysonb says

    @72: Of course this is just what a woman evil enough to have an abortion would do, if offered the chance…

    Or so it seems these guys think– they have no trouble, having imagined women free to choose, imagining them doing things like this as well. Whatever happened to the ‘mote in your brother’s eye’ remark?

  66. says

    mbrysonb:

    Whatever happened to the ‘mote in your brother’s eye’ remark?

    Pretty sure no one paid attention to it, ever. “Well, with me being the exception and all…” is what you get.

  67. raven says

    I criticized her organization for claiming, on its website, that there was a strong association between abortion and breast cancer, …

    This is a lie. There is no such association and it says that right on the NIH.gov website.

    All they have are the same old tired lies.

    There are others.

    Abortion makes you go crazy. Actually women who give birth have more mental health problems. Simply because an infant is a major responsibility and effort for years afterwards, whereas an abortion is over and done with.

    Abortion effects future fertility. No it doesn’t.

    Prolife is also a lie. They are forced birthers and female slavers.

    If you don’t control your body, what do you control? And what are you? This is damn close to slavery.

  68. dianne says

    Has anyone asked the anti-choicers what they intend to do for all the unwanted babies?

    At least some anti-choicers are very open about what they want to do with the unwanted babies: sell them on the open market. That’s what “pregnancy crisis centers” are for: to convince women to have babies and then give them to the people running the centers. Especially healthy, white children.

  69. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Especially healthy, white children

    I would say “but ONLY healthy, white children” than especially, but yeah. I’ve seen that explicitly said.

  70. rinn says

    Myers: I’m a developmental biologist. The pro-life movement is lying to people. An embryo is not a person.

    The crucial point is that even if embryos were persons that still would not change the outcome. The right to bodily autonomy is not abrogated by the presence of another person. There is a rather brilliant thought experiment to this effect:

    Imagine one day you wake up on a hospital bed and all kinds of tubing connect you and a man lying unconscious on the adjacent bed. You are told that the man is a famous violin virtuoso who is suffering from a rare type of kidney failure, so now his blood has to be filtered through your own body. No, there is nobody else who can do it, you and the violinist happen to have a rare blood type, which is why the Philharmonic Society has brought you here wile you were sleeping. But don’t worry, after nine months, his kidneys will recover and you can go home!

    Now, are you morally obligated to stay those nine months in hospital to save that complete stranger? You never agreed to this arrangement, you are not even a member of the Philharmonic Society. You think that it might be nice of you if you stayed, but you surely have the right to refuse being a human dialysis machine. In the absence of your consent, you cannot be required to make sacrifices for another person.

    The same should apply in the cases of abortion: a woman is not compelled to serve as a human incubator. The advantage of this kind of argument is that is bypasses the messy bickering about personhood altogether and focuses on the utilitarian philosophical bedrock.

  71. unclefrogy says

    what ever they think should be done with all of the unwanted babies it will not be the government doing it it will be church affiliated private businesses that would be favored.
    uncle frogy

  72. says

    @78: I think a more important point of the Violinist Thought Experiment is: Whether or not you feel a *moral* obligation to remain in the situation (some people might, some might not), should the state lay on you a *legal* obligation to do so? (Say with a court order shackling you to the bed, or prosecuting you criminally if you rip out the tubes and abscond).

    People can think whatever they like about the morality of abortion, and they can even (within reasonable limits) try to convince others — that’s part of being a free agent in a free society — but those who refrain from trying to invoke the law on their side are still “pro-choice” in an important sense.

  73. says

    Don’t worry, be happy.

    I thought you did a great job handling the interview to promote the book. Although I would suggest you drop the 5-year-old bit from future interviews, it just doesn’t play well.

    I’ve read the book, and I am happier for the experience, well done.

  74. vaiyt says

    It’s the argument that exactly because we can’t be sure when the fetus (or pre-fetus) begins to have rights

    Their rights don’t supercede the woman’s personhood. Full stop.

  75. MadHatter says

    Color me unsurprised that Aprit won’t address the forced organ donation comparison. I have never seen an anti-abortionist or even people who are pro-choice “but…” ever address it. Except occasionally to say that it’s not a valid comparison “because” without explaining the because.

    Mental masturbation indeed, and that’s all a discussion of abortion can be when you ignore the woman to whom the fetus is tied.

  76. frowntown says

    “How dare you people accuse me of not believing in rights!? I was quite clear when I stipulated the admittedly completely arbitrary line in the sand before which I refuse to grant certain innocent, living members of the species homo sapiens any rights whatsoever! How dare you completely confuse me by pointing out that we’ve come to regret other times in history where people selected an arbitrary difference (not necessarily development) by which they defended their choice to deny innocent, living members of the species homo sapiens rights!?!?! DARG”

  77. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    it’s not a valid comparison “because” without explaining the because.

    MadHatter. Yep. I’ve seen this, with the “because” being “BUT 5 MINUTES BEFORE BIRTH ITS A BAYBEE” and the like.

    Hence my reminder earlier that the termination of a pregnancy in very late term pregnancies, unless something went catastrophically wrong in any case, is done by means of induction or caesarean section IE BIRTH.

  78. says

    Arpit:

    By the way, if you think that you might be wrong some times, read Dan Fincke’s excellent article.

    You mean, the article in which Dan Fincke defended JT Eberhard for whitesplaining to a black woman how she should be more ~civil in dealing with racist assholes?

    mbrysonb:

    In a debate over abortion rights and Canadian law (with a pretty, young and pregnant woman as my opponent)

    WTF do her looks have to do with anything?

  79. Menyambal --- flinging the squaler says

    Frowntown, if you think that is an accurate-but-exaggerated summing up of PZ’s case, you are silly. If you are trying to be silly, please don’t confuse the thread.

  80. dianne says

    I’ve seen forced pregnancy advocates actually try to engage the forced organ transplant thing and attempt to explain why it is All Different. As far as I can tell, the arguments can be summarized as follows:
    1. You didn’t create the person who needs the organ so you’re not responsible (i.e. you’re only responsible for saving the life of your child).
    2. Someone else MIGHT donate instead so it’s not your moral obligation to donate and shouldn’t be your legal obligation.
    3. Abortion is an active act whereas refusing to donate is a passive one.
    4. Pregnancy’s natural and organ donation is unnatural.
    5. THAT’S TOTALLY DIFFERENT HOW COULD YOU EVEN SUGGEST THAT IT MIGHT BE THE SAME??!!!! DEAD BABEEZZZ!!!!!!!

    I find all of these arguments, shall we say, unconvincing.

  81. bobwoodruff says

    It’s funny that all these words are generated trying to define when life begins when they really don’t care at all. This debate has never been about reducing abortions. It’s always been about controlling women’s sexuality. Having a child is just one of the punishments for being a woman. Others, and I’m sure you can add more, are cervical cancer and death. The arguments put forth by the religious right about the HPV vaccine and the ordeal of Savita Halappanavar should still be fresh in our minds.

    It’s not the fetus, it’s the fucking.

  82. dianne says

    Speaking of organ donation and the legality of forcing organ donation, I posted something similar to the following on the lounge thread but the conversation went another direction so will ask here, though it’s not quite on topic…

    In the US, the case of McFall vs Shimp established the illegality of legally forcing someone to allow their body to be used for the benefit of another, even if that person would die without the donor’s aid, i.e. a person dying of aplastic anemia can’t force another to donate his marrow, even though that other person initially agreed to do so and the sick person will die without the donation.

    But that case was in the 1970s. Since that time there have been a number of cases that establish the right of the state to force women to continue a pregnancy against their will under certain circumstances. Don’t those cases overturn the McF v S decision? Why aren’t people ill with leukemia suing their potential donors who back out for marrow? Why aren’t people on dialysis suing for kidneys? Pretty much any law that restricts abortion and has been ruled to be legal seems to me to overturn the right to bodily integrity. Why don’t people take advantage of that opening?

  83. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Arpit:

    Just think of maximizing aggregate well-being, instead of distorting my points!

    Does this concept of maximizing aggregate well-being include a cap on the reduction in well-being a person can be expected to take for the sake of an increase in the well-being of others?

    Frowntown: the claim that a distinction based on stage of development is as arbitrary as a distinction based on race is what you are supposed to justify, not what you get to assert.

  84. frowntown says

    MadHatter, I will address it, with another thought experiment.

    78/rinn said:

    “The crucial point is that even if embryos were persons that still would not change the outcome. The right to bodily autonomy is not abrogated by the presence of another person. ”

    Basically, the argument is that, even assuming personhood, the fetus would have no right to life, if it impinged on the bodily autonomy of the fetus. So for this, we can assume that the fetus is every bit as much of a person as is a newborn.

    Let’s imagine that a new, young mother is trapped in a cabin following a terrible snowstorm. All communications are cut off and she can’t leave the cabin. There is plenty of food and drink inside and plenty of wood for heat — enough to last an entire year — but no baby formula. It’s not clear precisely when the passage to her cabin will be cleared so that she might receive assistance, but it is clear that it will happen at some point within a few months, because the pathway will naturally clear by then due to changing seasons.



    Would you support her right to deny her infant the permission to attach bodily to her nipple, to make use of her mammary glands, and the products of her metabolic system? Even if she “revoked consent” over her bodily organs? What if she developed mastitis and providing access to the nipple was somewhat painful? How about rather painful? What if she merely grew tired or bored of providing access the infant, and realized that she’d be better off financially, once she left the cabin, if she had no infant along?

    The infant simply cannot live without its mother’s support, or the support of another adult, to provide nourishment and shelter. But in this case, there is no secondary guardian to which her offspring can be safely transferred (which is analogous to pregnancy.)

    So, should the mother be allowed to starve the infant to death, without fear of prosecution? Should she be allowed to slit its throat with a scalpel, so she doesn’t need to be reminded incessantly, by its cries, of the demands it’s making on her body, since those cries might cause her mental discomfort?

    Obviously not. This is why (at least in part), whether the fetus’s life depends entirely on access to the mothers’ organs or not, the personhood of the fetus very much matters.

    There’s also a giant problem with the violinist experiment. It completely misplaces the roles of the fetus and the mother, at least for the vast majority of abortions (again, we’re assuming personhood throughout.) In 97.5%+ of the 1.2 million abortions that occur each year, the sex that caused the pregnancy was consensual. Women and men are wholly aware of the fact that sexual contact can lead to pregnancy. Pregnancy is, in effect, a new member of the species homo sapiens taking up temporary residence in its mother’s womb. And, assuming personhood, it makes sense to say that, because the mother and father made a free choice which led to the needy, endangered, and connected state of the fetus, that they cannot then escape responsibility for that choice by taking the life of the person that *they freely caused* to be in that state.

    You might object that, even though they caused the fetus’s state, they didn’t “intend” to cause it. But we routinely differentiate between intent and moral responsibility. To see this, consider the following:

    Imagine a box in a cave, deep within a forest, several days walk from the edge. There is a button on it. Its functionality is clearly labeled. When a woman presses the button, 99 out of 100 times it will generate an orgasm and a feeling of well being in the button pusher. 1 out of 100 times, it also generates a fully formed newborn infant. Now, even if the woman didn’t *want* or *intend* to generate the infant, the knowledge that they might be generating an infant puts the responsibility for the infant’s well being on them. To deprive that child of its *only* means of survival is clearly wrong, and I believe that we would, and should, punish folks who walk away from the newborn, leaving it to starve. All this, despite their “intending” to create an infant. What do you think?

    The fact is, 1 out of 3 women end up having an abortion. Given that the vast, vast majority of those are purely elective (at least 92/93%), that’s probably makes for a whole lot of unintended pregnancies. Women know that they are risking that a needy and endangered fetus (person, in this discussion) taking up residence in their womb. It seems bizarre to say that they have a right to deny help to that person, much less kill it, when they are 100% responsible for its existence.

    This is why, btw, the violinist does have some force when it comes to rapes. In that instance, the female did not make a freely chosen moral decision that risked generating the fetus. Rather, it was imposed on her by someone else.

    Note, that this is entirely different than, e.g., McFall v Shrimp. For example, Shrimp had literally *nothing* to do with McFall’s needy and endangered state. He certainly didn’t *knowingly cause it*. This is significant, because most tiny born and unborn children are only in the state that they find themselves because their mother and father freely and knowingly risked the possibility of putting them there. Also, that possibility can be reasonably foreseen (meaning, it’s clear that the consequences are not astronomically unlikely, and it’s clear what the standard consequences will be: a temporary requirement for connectivity; the existence of a needy and endangered little human who dies without food; a requirement for safety and shelter and hygienic care; regular attention and effort; etc; at least until a safe alternative guardian can be found.)

    Another morally significant difference between McFall v Shrimp and Offspring v Mother, at least with respect to surgical abortions, is that in the latter case the bodily connection has already occurred. Unlike McFall, the fetus isn’t asking anyone to forcibly “violate” the bodily integrity of another human on its behalf. If the consenting mother and her consenting partner are the only agents morally responsible for the connected state in which the mother finds herself, then that is very different than McFall v Shrimp. Her own acts literally caused the fetus to take up residence in her womb, and to connect to her uterus. Since she is already connected to the human in question, she is asking something *very* different than what Shrimp asked. Shrimp was saying “please protect me from this person who wants to take action to forcibly connect to me (or tap a line into me), to take the products of my internal organs.” But the mother is saying “Please protect me legally as I disconnect from this human that I freely, knowingly risked connecting to, whose freely chosen actions had *nothing* to do with our being connected, and whose endangered state would not exist had I not acted as I did. Furthermore, since I can’t simply unhook from them, I want to pay someone to rip them apart with medical equipment, or to asphyxiate them, and I want you legally protect me in the process.”

    Not sure if that satisfies. But it’s a response. IMO, this is one of the several reasons that the personhood debate is the crux of the matter.

  85. frowntown says

    @87 @Menyambal

    I was responding to one tiny part of what he said. I wanted to save my words for the Violinist/organ donation issue.

    BTW, for those of you confused by the “woman having a pregnancy just to give drugs to the baby”, that was inside-anti-abortion-camp-speak for the thalidomide objection to the naive sovereign zone argument in favor of abortion. I don’t think Klusendorf expected this to be widely read outside the pro-life camp.

  86. says

    Mad Hatter @83:

    Richard Posner addresses it in The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory:

    [Judith Jarvis] Thomson is right that we don’t force people to donate kidneys to strangers, or even to family members. But normally the potential donor is not responsible for the condition that he is asked to alleviate, in the way that a woman (unless she has been raped) is responsible, although only in part, for the fact that she is pregnant. The difference in evidentiary difficulty between asking who hit X and asking who failed to save X is a strong practical reason against liability for failing to be a good Samaritan. So although bystanders are not required to rescue persons in distress, someone who creates the danger, even if nontortiously, may be required to attempt rescue, and perhaps that is the proper analogy to the pregnant woman who wants to terminate her pregnancy.

    Don’t have the page number I’m afraid.

    This is part of a longer attack (which I think is well worth reading) on Judith Jarvis Thomson, who invented the hypotheticals in question. Partly because of Posner, I think a better argument is: the life of a hypothetical “person” or hypothetical “rights-bearing human” or whatever you wish to call it should not trump the freedom of an actual person. And we certainly shouldn’t be criminalizing behavior because of a hypothetical evil.

  87. rowanvt says

    Actually, frequently if a female (I’m a vet tech, so I have more experience with non-human mammals) develops mastitis they simply cannot nurse anymore. The milk either doesn’t come out, or is mostly pus.

    Also, in a drastic pinch, the woman can create baby food and wean the baby early.

    And furthermore, there is a decided difference in level of consciousness between a fetus and a newborn that you are conveniently ignoring.

  88. dianne says

    For example, Shrimp had literally *nothing* to do with McFall’s needy and endangered state.

    Wrong. It’s true that Shimp didn’t give McFall aplastic anemia (at least I hope it’s true). However, Shimp deliberately allowed himself to be tested to see if he would match McFall and be an eligible donor and then refused to give up the marrow once it was established that he was the only potential donor and McFall was about to die without the transplant. The ONLY reason that Shimp ever came up as a possible donor is that he agreed to donate and went through the preliminary testing. Only after he was demonstrated to be a match did he withdraw consent. I don’t see how you can look at those facts and state that Shimp had nothing to do with McFall’s situation.

  89. frowntown says

    Ack. I wish there was an edit button. There were a few typos:

    “Basically, the argument is that, even assuming personhood, the fetus would have no right to life, if it impinged on the bodily autonomy of the fetus. ” should read “Basically, the argument is that, even assuming personhood, the fetus would have no right to life, if its life impinged on the bodily autonomy of the mother. ”

    “All this, despite their “intending” to create an infant. What do you think?” should read “All this, despite their “not intending” to create an infant. What do you think?”

    “Women know that they are risking that a needy and endangered fetus (person, in this discussion) taking up residence in their womb. ” should read “Women know that they are risking that a needy and endangered fetus (person, in this discussion) might take up residence in their womb. ”

    BTW, this is also why we say that men should have to provide child support to their children, even when they did not “consent” to parenthood.

    Also, I forgot to point out that the final difference I mentioned doesn’t apply to morning after/plan B style abortions, but that’s probably obvious.

  90. dianne says

    Humans can nurse through a mild case of mastitis, but there’s no particular need to. Even in the “mother and baby in a cabin in the woods” scenario, a baby can survive on food other than breast milk. Even an infant can be fed other animals’ milk or even other liquids containing adequate vitamins, sugar, water, and electrolytes. It’s not ideal, but it’s clear that the “starve a baby or force a woman to breast feed” scenario is nonsense. Just not something that could happen. If the woman doesn’t have enough resources to make an adequate formula, she’s likely got so little food that she and the baby will starve anyway (or at the very least that she won’t have enough food to make milk and at least the baby will starve.)

  91. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Would you support her right to deny her infant the permission to attach bodily to her nipple, to make use of her mammary glands, and the products of her metabolic system? Even if she “revoked consent” over her bodily organs?

    Well, since breastfeeding her baby won’t put her life in danger the way even the safest of pregnancies does I’d STILL say it’s HER FUCKING CHOICE.

  92. Forbidden Snowflake says

    frowntown:

    Let’s imagine that a new, young mother is trapped in a cabin following a terrible snowstorm. […] Would you support her right to deny her infant the permission to attach bodily to her nipple, to make use of her mammary glands, and the products of her metabolic system?

    Question: would your answer to this hypothetical be different if it involved a nursing woman trapped in a cabin with somebody else’s baby?

  93. frowntown says

    “. The ONLY reason that Shimp ever came up as a possible donor is that he agreed to donate and went through the preliminary testing. Only after he was demonstrated to be a match did he withdraw consent. I don’t see how you can look at those facts and state that Shimp had nothing to do with McFall’s situation.”

    Seeing whether he could be a match, and then withdrawing, doesn’t mean he caused the state. So I don’t think you can say “wrong” … Your contribution is interesting for historical reasons (I didn’t know that, thanks), but it doesn’t change the fact that he didn’t take an action that he knew might *cause* McFall’s needy and endangered state, and then take that act and so *cause* it. There’s a huge morally significant difference between the two.

  94. dianne says

    Shrimp was saying “please protect me from this person who wants to take action to forcibly connect to me (or tap a line into me), to take the products of my internal organs.”

    Point 1: It was McFall who sued. And he was saying “Please make this person honor his contract because if he doesn’t I’m dead.”

    Point 2: As I stated before, Shimp agreed to the donation. He simply withdrew his consent before the donation process was complete. Just as a woman might agree to have sex, might even agree to become pregnant but later withdraw that consent before the pregnancy was complete. Thank you for pointing out how parallel the two cases are.

    But regardless of the McFall versus Shimp case, even if we accept that in that situation Shimp wasn’t responsible because he didn’t cause McFall’s disease…what if he did? Suppose Shimp had exposed McFall to benzene, a known inducer of aplastic anemia. In that case, would you say that the decision was wrong and Shimp should be forced to donate his marrow since he caused McFall’s illness?

  95. says

    Frowntown:

    If consenting to sex means consenting to having your bodily autonomy revoked in the case of a resulting pregnancy, then why does consenting to drive, with its concomitant risks of causing an accident not also entail consent to having your bodily autonomy revoked, should you put some innocent person in the position of needing a blood transfusion or organ donation through your careless actions?

  96. frowntown says

    @Forbidden snowflake
    “Question: would your answer to this hypothetical be different if it involved a nursing woman trapped in a cabin with somebody else’s baby?”

    I’m still not sure about that one. I think it’s obvious that the nursing woman would have a moral obligation to care for the baby. But I think the legal case isn’t *quite* as clear. We intuitively recognize that people have an obligation to their children that goes beyond that which they owe to strangers.. So I’d be content (for now) working with the more obvious case.

    I’d be willing to say that if the nursemade took guardianship over that infant (rather than being forcibly placed there), then the case becomes quite clear again.

    @all,

    It doesn’t matter specifically whether the formula case is likely (or even possible.. for eff’s sake look at the violinist ;-]) You just deal with the thought experiment with the terms you’ve been given.

    @Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    OK, but the vast majority of pregnancies don’t endanger the lives of the mother either, and when they do, we can take action. I’m referring specifically to those cases where the fetus isn’t a likely *deadly* innocent aggressor.

  97. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    What you fail to realize, frowntown, is that positions like yours that lead to situations like the one you made up and lead to newborns landing up in toilets or wherever they can be safely dumped.

    You do that by forcing women to birth newborns they don’t want to take care of and may NEED to keep secret.

    If the woman in your scenario had the free chance to have an abortion during her pregnancy, and chose not to, it’s clear she wanted that baby and would do anything to help the baby survive, and be crushed if the baby didn’t.

    If, on the other hand, she was forced to carry the pregnancy to term (through either legal or social means), she may in fact be more ambivalent.

    Also, what dianne said.

  98. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    frowntown

    We intuitively recognize that people have an obligation to their children that goes beyond that which they owe to strangers.

    And yet it’s legal to refuse to donate an organ to someone else, INCLUDING your own children.

  99. says

    OK, but the vast majority of pregnancies don’t endanger the lives of the mother either, and when they do, we can take action.

    “We” cannot take action, where “we” refers to women generally. In many places on the planet, such action is prohibited. In other places, it is legal but inaccessible. Thanks in part to lawmakers listening to reasoning like yours.

  100. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ooh, our sophist word salad specialist likes Singer. My opinion of Singer and his sophistry: A steaming pile of pigshit from a factory farm….

  101. notsont says

    If “pro-lifers” truly cared about abortions they would spend their time campaigning about sex education and birth control. The fact that they do not shows what their true motivations are.

  102. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    OK, but the vast majority of pregnancies don’t endanger the lives of the mother either, and when they do, we can take action.

    And who makes that call? Who decides what “endangering the life of the mother” means? And where would these people then go when all the abortion service providers are gone or inaccessible? And WILL they then actually do the abortion, or be too scared that they’d end up in jail and let the woman die rather than risk it?

  103. frowntown says

    @dianne
    I’m at least *open* to the idea that, if Shrimp *knowingly* engaged in an action that was somewhat likely to cause McFall to have aplastic anemia, that the legal calculus should change. If over a million times per year, folks walk out into the street with a cup of benzene, and throw it in the sky, causing someone to develop that condition (because then it’d be something that Shrimp should know is reasonably likely to occur.) You wouldn’t?

    But, of course, pregnancy is difficult to analogize. Really it’d be something like Shrimp walking up to his child and whirling about with a metal tube, because it’s fun. This metal tube ends up lodged in his son, Mickey’s stomach, and makes it so that Mickey cannot survive if the tube is removed. Drs tell Shrimp that he will be anesthetized so he doesn’t feel horrific pain (he will feel some), and that they can rebuild the tissue after a few months. In the meantime, his son Mickey will die if they disconnect it. Further suppose that this happens *very often* when people whirl a metal tube around their children, and that people do it all the time, and that a million children are dying each year as a result of metal tube whirling.

    Yes, I’d be in favor of legislation saying that they couldn’t forcibly disconnect, and I’d be doubly in favor of legislation stating that they could insist that their child’s head be severed because that would soften the tissue around the metal tube, making it easier to remove.

  104. rowanvt says

    All pregnancies have a very real *chance* of endangering a woman’s life. Pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, hypertension and placental abruption are not things to dismiss so lightly.

  105. I've got the WTF blues says

    Her own acts literally caused the fetus to take up residence in her womb, and to connect to her uterus. Since she is already connected to the human in question, she is asking something *very* different than what Shrimp asked. Shrimp was saying “please protect me from this person who wants to take action to forcibly connect to me (or tap a line into me), to take the products of my internal organs.” But the mother is saying “Please protect me legally as I disconnect from this human that I freely, knowingly risked connecting to, whose freely chosen actions had *nothing* to do with our being connected, and whose endangered state would not exist had I not acted as I did. Furthermore, since I can’t simply unhook from them, I want to pay someone to rip them apart with medical equipment, or to asphyxiate them, and I want you legally protect me in the process.”

    Ayup. Classic proof of the truth of:

    It’s funny that all these words are generated trying to define when life begins when they really don’t care at all. This debate has never been about reducing abortions. It’s always been about controlling women’s sexuality. Having a child is just one of the punishments for being a woman. Others, and I’m sure you can add more, are cervical cancer and death. The arguments put forth by the religious right about the HPV vaccine and the ordeal of Savita Halappanavar should still be fresh in our minds.

    It’s not the fetus, it’s the fucking.

    Just eating or drinking risks “causing” something to take up residence in ones body. To claim there is no right to expel that which is unwanted because one knowingly engaged in acts which “risk connecting to” another life is ridiculous.

    “Put down that Metronidazole! He was asking for Clostridium when he spread his lips!”

  106. Forbidden Snowflake says

    frowntown:

    I’m still not sure about that one. I think it’s obvious that the nursing woman would have a moral obligation to care for the baby.

    The question of whether she caused the baby to be dependent on her is either morally relevant or it isn’t. Your comment #92 suggests that you think it is. If your answer changes based on what is convenient for your argument at the moment, your philosophy seems to be inconsistent.

    But I think the legal case isn’t *quite* as clear.

    This is about what the law ought to say, not about what it says.

    We intuitively recognize that people have an obligation to their children that goes beyond that which they owe to strangers.

    However, we* don’t legally oblige parents to donate organs for their children, even in life or death situations.

    *My we is not your we, but they have this much in common

  107. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Further suppose that this happens *very often* when people whirl a metal tube around their children, and that people do it all the time, and that a million children are dying each year as a result of metal tube whirling.

    Is this some contrived metaphor for gun accidents in USA?
    Also, how does frequency or the occurrence change the moral calculus?

  108. dianne says

    @112: So you’re ok with violating someone’s bodily autonomy as long as they did something to “deserve” it? But what constitutes enough responsibility? Suppose, for example, there was an auto accident involving two drivers. Person A sustained only minor injuries but had a blood alcohol level of 0.04 (legal but unwise to drive). Person B, unfortunately, sustained major trauma to xer abdomen and ultimately had kidney failure. Does A owe B a kidney? The crash could be the fault of either of them, but only A was documented to have (legal amounts) of alcohol in xer system. Is that enough evidence to forcibly take A’s kidney? What compensation should B owe if, after A is taken screaming to the OR and xer kidney forcibly removed, it turns out the accident was caused by B texting while driving?

  109. frowntown says

    @Gen, Uppit Ingrate Ilk

    “And who makes that call? Who decides what “endangering the life of the mother” means? And where would these people then go when all the abortion service providers are gone or inaccessible? And WILL they then actually do the abortion, or be too scared that they’d end up in jail and let the woman die rather than risk it?”

    A medically trained expert would make that legal determination.

    I totally agree that your concerns are important, and even that they’d wholly settle the matter, IF the fetus wasn’t an innocent, living person. But folks have stipulated that bodily autonomy arguments apply even if the fetus *is* an innocent, living person.

    It’s somewhat akin to self-defense law. We could say “what happens if, after looking at all of the evidence, someone ends up going to jail who shouldn’t have, because a jury might review evidence and believe that they *didn’t* kill in self-defense?” Or, “What happens if the person is afraid to go to jail, and therefore doesn’t defend themselves, and ends up dead?” That’s not a reason to throw out all regulations and evidentiary reasoning when it comes to self-defense. It is a reason to carefully monitor and tweak the regulations such that folks who are legitimately in danger have recourse. The same would apply to abortion.

  110. frowntown says

    rowanvt
    3 September 2013 at 3:07 pm (UTC -5) Link to this comment
    Frowntown, did you honestly just insinuate that women get abortions… for *fun*?”

    No, of course not. The activity that led to the needy and endangered act was a freely chosen act in engaged in, one way or another, for pleasure. That’s all.

  111. Forbidden Snowflake says

    rowanvt: no, s/he referred to having sex for fun.

    frowntown: suppose a woman has horrible pregnancy-related complications, has kidney failure and needs a kidney donation. Should the man who impregnated her be forced to donate it (I’m talking physical force, in case he resists)? Does your answer depend on whether he wanted the pregnancy and, if he didn’t, whether he took due precautions to prevent it?

  112. frowntown says

    “Also, how does frequency or the occurrence change the moral calculus?”

    I think I addressed that above. It only does inasmuch as the person engaging in some act should therefore have knowledge that his act is likely or not likely to cause such an event.

    We intuitively differentiate between acts where someone should have known that they were likely to endanger someone, where they purposely endangered someone, freak accidents where someone was endangered, and accidents where both parties bear some responsibility.

    Pregnancy is interesting (among other reasons) because its one of the few examples where one party is *wholly* lacking in moral responsibility for the state they find themselves. The fetus literally took no knowing action that led to its needy and endangered state. The mother and father are wholly morally responsible.

    biab

  113. GrouperFish says

    I’d just like to respond to:

    what if a woman got pregnant just so she could take a drug that made the fetus limbless? What if she refused to give birth by taking drugs that kept the fetus small and held it inside for 70 years?

    With this:

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

    In which a Yale art student probably didn’t but maybe did get herself pregnant and then aborted it within a month as an art project. Repeatedly. Maybe.

    The xtian responder was not very articulate but I think what he *might* have been trying to say is that a fetus isn’t just something that you can do anything to. Not even a early stage fetus is just a piece of meat, and we can know that because we would consider it unethical to get pregnant just for the sake of aborting it (or in his twisted version, get pregnant and do anything you want to the fetus).

    The Xtian responder thinks this suggestion is enough for us to have to reconsider abortion as a morally ok choice altogether. I disagree, I’m pro-choice. However, what quality does a fetus have that entitles it to not be “owned” by another (the mother for whatever purpose she would use it) but does not entitle it to continued existence? It’s actually a really interesting philosophical question. I think. Maybe there is an answer to this and I just haven’t heard it.

    Anyway, but as with stem cell research you can own a very early stage embryo (morula – is that what its called?) and do anything you want to it. But I have a feeling that most people would agree that this ability of ownership over the embryo diminishes overtime and is extinguished before the fetus is entitled to continued existence. (I don’t really know).

  114. dianne says

    A medically trained expert would make that legal determination.

    So you’re in favor of no change in the law whatsoever then, since currently the determination of whether an abortion can go forward rests on the judgement of a trained expert, aka an ob/gyn, as to whether an abortion is practical and is what the pregnant woman desires. Any legitimate clinic which offers abortion will present the risks, benefits, and alternatives to abortion to the woman who presents for diagnosis and treatment and might, under some circumstances, even say something like, “your best option is induction of labor” or “you seem unsure-would you like longer to think about things”. Very good. Argument done.

  115. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    So Frowntown, what’s your position on legally mandating convicts to donate their organs? I mean they did very bad things, right, and they’re walking around with their 2 lungs and their 2 kidneys and their whole livers and everything.

    Should they then also be forced by law to donate their bodies for the lives of others, because they’ve done “bad” things to “deserve” it?

  116. says

    GrouperFish: I would consider a woman to be well within her rights to abort at will. Whim, art, illness, whatever — it’s her body.

  117. says

    It seems like Frowntown is avoiding answering the question of how the responsibility question affects other cases of people in need of organ donation, like a driver causing a crash that injures another person who then requires a blood or organ donation.

    If Frowntown were consistent with their reasoning, they are saying that yes, the law should oblige people who cause other people to need blood transfusions or organ donations to give that blood or those organs, presuming they are a match.

    Except that Frowntown is walking that legal obligation back and now saying that it’s merely a moral obligation; in other words, they actually are 100% pro-choice, but are currently engaging in a bout of mental masturbation with the bodily autonomy of pregnant persons (who are overwhelmingly women) as the metaphorical dirty sock into which they’re releasing their intellectual jizz.

    So, like, WTF, Frowntown?

  118. Forbidden Snowflake says

    We intuitively recognize that people have an obligation to their children that goes beyond that which they owe to strangers.

    We intuitively differentiate between acts where someone should have known that they were likely to endanger someone, where they purposely endangered someone, freak accidents where someone was endangered, and accidents where both parties bear some responsibility.

    People who have abortions intuitively sense that aborting a pregnancy is nothing like killing an actual baby, so obviously abortion is no big deal and this argument is moot. Or maybe intuitions aren’t a very solid heuristic to base all of morality on. Myself, I’m inclined to think it’s both.

  119. says

    OK, but the vast majority of pregnancies don’t endanger the lives of the mother either, and when they do, we can take action.

    This is spectacularly wrong, as someone has already pointed out above. I would just add that since EVERY pregnancy carries with it a non-trivial risk of death or permanent disability, that’s an additional reason why it should be entirely up to the pregnant whether to shoulder that burden or not.

  120. frowntown says

    Sigh. Just want to clear up a couple things before I leave for a bit.

    Forbidden Snowflake, some of your questions are addressed in my most recent response (if you apply it to a few of the questions you asked.)

    I wasn’t referring to what the law *is*, I was referring to what it should be. I simply said that if the nursemaid was placed against her will in the cabin, the legal status of such acts is questionable to me. But that if she knowingly and willingly assumed guardianship over the child, she should probably have the same obligations as the mother.

    I’m not convinced of the case when force was involved, because I am still considering this issue at length. I don’t think it should be surprising that I’m still mulling over edge cases like abortion after rape, given that the vast majority of folks have inconsistent views.

    Put another way, loosely and quickly: taking action that knowingly causes such states in innocent humans is a sufficient condition for bearing an obligation to them, but it *might* not be necessary. I haven’t figured that out.

    The thing is, abortion seems prima facie wrong to me, even in the absence of these arguments. I am still mulling over the violinist case following rapes, and so you see the ambivalence when one forcibly places the nursemaid there.

    And btw, no one is asking for parents to “donate organs” to their fetuses, nor to their children. They are being asked to provide nourishment, shelter, etc, when they take actions that knowingly cause them to exist in a needy and endangered state, until such a time as they can be safely transferred to a second guardian. This talk of literally “donating organs” is disanalogous.

    To the silly person and their Clostridium, they are missing the fact that the personhood of the fetus was stipulated as irrelevant in this discussion, by the pro legalized abortion side. So unless you’re willing to argue that Clostridium should be considered a person, I don’t think your example quite works the way you want it to. And yes, shockingly, I think people shouldn’t be able to slaughter innocent, living members of our species to escape responsibility for them, and am not so convinced of the same with respect to bacteria. I know, I’m a freak.

    ok, really biab.

  121. dianne says

    It’s somewhat akin to self-defense law.

    Why not to castle doctrine? A person finding an intruder in their house can kill them more or less on a whim without legal liability. All they have to do is claim that they did not give permission for the person killed to be in the house and they’re allowed to use force, including deadly force, to remove them. If one can use deadly force to remove a person from one’s house, why not also from one’s body?

  122. says

    SallyStrange @ 127:

    It seems like Frowntown is avoiding answering the question of how the responsibility question affects other cases of people in need of organ donation, like a driver causing a crash that injures another person who then requires a blood or organ donation.

    If Frowntown were consistent with their reasoning, they are saying that yes, the law should oblige people who cause other people to need blood transfusions or organ donations to give that blood or those organs, presuming they are a match.

    There’s actually a perfectly straightforward answer: when you are in some way or another responsible for injury to another person, you can remedy that injury without giving up an organ or blood (by, for example, paying their medical bills). There’s no other remedy available with a fetus: it’s carry it to term or kill it. Another reason why I think Thomson’s analogies raise more problems than they solve.

  123. says

    I don’t think it should be surprising that I’m still mulling over edge cases like abortion after rape, given that the vast majority of folks have inconsistent views.

    Surprising? I suppose not. Morally reprehensible? Absolutely. There should be no question of following up one violation with another, by forcing a woman impregnated by a rapist to bear her rapist’s child against her will. Especially considering it’s legal for the rapist to sue for custody in 31 states.

  124. frowntown says

    (BTW, for anyone who cares, grabbing a year at random, there were 12.7 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Probably useful keeping this in perspective.)

  125. says

    There’s actually a perfectly straightforward answer: when you are in some way or another responsible for injury to another person, you can remedy that injury without giving up an organ or blood (by, for example, paying their medical bills).

    The question is whether the law should give the injured person the right to compel that donation even if the person who caused the injury wants to hang on to their kidney or whatever.

    To analogize it even further to the state of a pregnant woman, should the law enable uninterested third parties to compel such donations on behalf of a comatose, injured person?

  126. dianne says

    And btw, no one is asking for parents to “donate organs” to their fetuses, nor to their children. They are being asked to provide nourishment, shelter, etc

    That’s some high grade denial you’ve got going there. I’m impressed. You’re asking not parents but specifically and exclusively women to allow their bodies to be used against their will to support something that isn’t even a child yet and might not ever be. Where do you think this “nourishment, shelter, etc” comes from? The air? It comes from the woman who is pregnant: her uterus shelters the fetus and her blood feeds it. Often, in fact almost always to some degree, to the detriment to her own health.

    Your argument is a complicated bit of special pleading. Basically, you seem to always want to come around to the conclusion that pregnant women and ONLY pregnant women may and must be forced to allow the use of their bodies by others. Parents, you say, don’t have an obligation to give up organs or even replacable tissue such as blood, to their children (which would put men in danger). So much for the argument that it’s about the relationship. You also say that Shimp had no obligation because he didn’t cause McFall’s “needy state”-so much for the argument that a person is obligated to provide assistance at risk to their life when they’re the only ones who could help. You’ve refused to really address the issue of whether a legal obligation can be made when the donor somehow caused the situation. Again, you make lots of interesting excuses, but it all seems to come back to a desire to enslave women and only women.

  127. says

    (BTW, for anyone who cares, grabbing a year at random, there were 12.7 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Probably useful keeping this in perspective.)

    How high does the rate of death has to be before you consider it unethical to force someone to take that risk against their will?

  128. frowntown says

    [Oops, I forgot to mention the year. It was 2007, which at least in 2011 was the most recent stats available. I don’t have time to look further right now. But I think it suffices to show that pregnancy is not so dangerous as some would have you believe, especially when compared to the nearly 100% death rate of abortions, which, according to the constraints of this discussion, kills over a million morally innocent persons each year, in our nation alone.]

  129. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Okay, frowntown finally lets it all out:

    I think people shouldn’t be able to slaughter innocent, living members of our species to escape responsibility for them, and am not so convinced of the same with respect to bacteria. I know, I’m a freak.

    Let me just fisk the telltale words & phrases:

    “slaughter”

    Okay, this does not describe a medical procedure. This describes a CRIME and a particularly horrible one at that.

    “innocent”

    Ooookaay. Using the word “innocent” assumes that “guilty” ones exist — which can be “slaughtered”. That’s quite a tell there.

    “living members of our species”

    Equates everything from a several-day old blastula or an 8.5 month old fetus to a fully-grown, sentient adult. Another “person-from-conception” authoritarian sexist. Sloppy thinking.

    “to escape responsibility for them”

    BINGO! I win! frowntown clearly means: :”Sex is a serious, serious business, with tremendous, tremendous responsibilities and EVERY act of sex by a woman must also be accompanied by pain, fear, possible injury and death, and a possible twenty-year sentence of caretaking for an expensive and unwanted child — but not for the guy.”

    This phrase is so, so charming. In frowntown’s world, women are simply not equal. They are not fully human, the way men are. Women are and always will be slaves to their biology. Women who fuck (especially for pleasure) deserve punishment.

    It took frowntown a while to get there, but he eventually vomited it out in all its misogynistic glory.

    Now let’s see if he can stick the flounce.

  130. dianne says

    @136: 12.7 per 100,000. Sounds low, doesn’t it? Until you make some comparisons…An abortion has a mortality rate of about 0.5 per 100,000. If there are a million abortions per year then about 120 women’s lives were saved by abortion (assuming no difference in risk between women who obtained abortions and those who did not). Or, to put it in perspective, the risk of flying* on 9/11/01 was about 1-2 per 100,000 (yes, I did calculate it out-feel free to check my math). Does that make flying on 9/11/01 a “low risk” thing to do?

    *Technically of having an airline ticket on 9/11/01 since many of the flights that day never took off.

  131. says

    Dianne @132:

    Why not to castle doctrine? A person finding an intruder in their house can kill them more or less on a whim without legal liability. All they have to do is claim that they did not give permission for the person killed to be in the house and they’re allowed to use force, including deadly force, to remove them. If one can use deadly force to remove a person from one’s house, why not also from one’s body?

    Well, I think in most American jurisdictions, you must reasonably fear imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm to yourself or another before you can evoke the Castle Doctrine to kill an intruder.

    The non-trivial risk I’ve mentioned above from pregnancy would not, I think, amount to “imminent peril of death” as that’s understood by most courts; HOWEVER, since we’re talking about something we have no obligation to impute rights-bearing status to, that non-trivial risk is an excellent reason why a woman can exercise self-defense here.

  132. frowntown says

    SallyStrange, it’s a risk *they took*, at least in the 97+% cases where an abortion follows consensual sex. They already knowingly risked bringing a needy and endangered human into the world. I’m simply saying that they shouldn’t be able to purposely kill that person to avoid their responsibility to it.

    And with respect to me “dodging” the organ issue (really, blood/food transfusion and shelter), I addressed it, pointing out that if an accident analogous to abortion were to occur (see my whirling metal tube example, where the person knowingly risked an act for pleasure that often caused the state in question) at the rate that unplanned pregnancies occur, then yes, I would be open to legislation forcing them to stay connected. All the more so if the victim was their own child, as we recognize that people have a greater obligation to their children than they do to random strangers (Can I storm into your house and demand that you feed me, clothe me, give me the products of your organs [i.e., money, after you work], and clean up after my feces? Of course not. But if I was your child, and a second guardian was not safely available, then of course I could demand such things.)

  133. dianne says

    Oh, duh! Forgot a few critical figures. Mortality from blood donation: 1 in an occasional fluke. Two cases reported in 2011, neither definitively linked to the act of donation. Mortality from marrow/peripheral blood stem cell collection: Also very difficult to calculate, but probably around 1-10 per million. Kidney donation? Probably around 15 per 100,000, making it the only one comparable to pregnancy. In short, forced pregnancy is one of the more dangerous bodily integrity violations one can undergo.

  134. dianne says

    There’s actually a perfectly straightforward answer: when you are in some way or another responsible for injury to another person, you can remedy that injury without giving up an organ or blood (by, for example, paying their medical bills).

    How does paying their medical bills magically regrow their kidney or replace the lost blood?

  135. dianne says

    Well, I think in most American jurisdictions, you must reasonably fear imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm to yourself or another before you can evoke the Castle Doctrine to kill an intruder.

    As far as I can tell (and IANAL), the only requirement is that you say that you feared imminent peril. You don’t have to prove that the person in question was endangering you.

  136. says

    SallyStrange, it’s a risk *they took*, at least in the 97+% cases where an abortion follows consensual sex. They already knowingly risked bringing a needy and endangered human into the world. I’m simply saying that they shouldn’t be able to purposely kill that person to avoid their responsibility to it.

    Following your reasoning, ethical behavior should entail:

    1. People who do not desire to have children should never ever have sex, ever.

    2. People who do desire children should have sex only when they want them. Given that most people don’t want more than 2 – 3 children, this amounts to maybe 20 sessions of good fucking, tops, for the vast majority of people, throughout their lifetime.

    3. The only possible exception to these rules of ethical behavior would be infertility–through sterilization or menopause.

    You aren’t some kind of… Catholic, are you? *spits*

  137. frowntown says

    @Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    LOL.

    By “slaughter” I meant merely violent killing, which often involves dismemberment. This includes includes the most common method, vacuum aspiration. Yes, sometimes the truth slips out.

    By innocent, I meant what I said o_O Humans generally realize that when someone takes actions which knowingly violate someone else’s rights, their rights change. For example, they might lose their right to remain outside a jail. Similarly, a hostage taker might lose his right to not be shot by a sniper. The fetus has not taken actions which knowingly violate someone else’s rights, so they are morally innocent. That’s what I meant, that’s basically what I said.

    “Equates everything from a several-day old blastula or an 8.5 month old fetus to a fully-grown, sentient adult.”
    The entire point of this part of the thread, had you bothered to read it, would be that bodily rights arguments work EVEN IF the unborn is a person. That was said repeatedly. I was well within my rights to assume this.

    “Another “person-from-conception” authoritarian sexist. Sloppy thinking.”
    Please feel free to share your non ad-hoc criteria for personhood. We can deal with that when the bodily autonomy argument ends.

    “BINGO! I win! frowntown clearly means: :”Sex is a serious, serious business, with tremendous, tremendous responsibilities and EVERY act of sex by a woman must also be accompanied by pain, fear, possible injury and death, and a possible twenty-year sentence of caretaking for an expensive and unwanted child — but not for the guy.””

    No, I don’t mean that. You should take up work at a carnival. You seem to believe that you’re a quite talented mentalist.

    I am a strong believer in the utility of contraception. I hope for a time when contraception works 100% of the time and doesn’t need to be regularly maintained, so that people can have all the sex, pleasurable, promiscuous or otherwise, without risking creating needy and endangered humans who are likely to be killed.

    Until that exists, I simply think both responsible parties should be held responsible. This goes for the father too, who should be forced help support the mother and her child.

    BTW, I assume you are 100% opposed to child support, where the father (or mother in some cases) is forced to pay for a child whom they don’t desire. Right?

  138. I've got the WTF blues says

    To the silly person and their Clostridium, they are missing the fact that the personhood of the fetus was stipulated as irrelevant in this discussion, by the pro legalized abortion side. So unless you’re willing to argue that Clostridium should be considered a person, I don’t think your example quite works the way you want it to. And yes, shockingly, I think people shouldn’t be able to slaughter innocent, living members of our species to escape responsibility for them, and am not so convinced of the same with respect to bacteria. I know, I’m a freak.

    If the personhood was stipulated as irrelevant than the clostridium parallel stands. You see how that works here? If we stipulate that is is irrelevant than I don’t need to argue that clostridium should be considered a person.

    However, you just made an “argument” whichs invokes personhood.

    BTW, you getting caught in a pickle because you are allowing your “moral” sensibilities to override the rights of others, a “moral sensibility” which is based upon the idea that women who choose to have sex are agreeing to conception, well, me pointing that out is not “silly.”

    Oh, and a heart Fuck You for the last two sentences you wrote there.

  139. frowntown says

    Oh good, pay up. Can I give you a bitcoin wallet?

    And btw, please don’t assume that if I leave for a bit that I’ve withdrawn from the conversation. In my experience these things go on for days and days, and I am not in a situation where I can spend the entire day, several days in a row, typing in a comment thread.

  140. says

    The question is whether the law should give the injured person the right to compel that donation even if the person who caused the injury wants to hang on to their kidney or whatever.

    I think most of us would regard as grotesque a law that compelled self-mutilation under any circumstances, and especially when an injured party can readily be compensated by other means. But the forced organ donation analogy is a lousy analogy: pregnancy doesn’t have much in common with permanently surrendering an organ. Also, if you refuse to donate an organ to another person, that person MAY be able to get the organ elsewhere. With a fetus, once again, it’s keep it or kill it–it can’t go looking elsewhere.

    Analogies are always a weak form of argument, and once more I don’t think Thomson’s efforts are as airtight as some people believe.

  141. raven says

    (BTW, for anyone who cares, grabbing a year at random, there were 12.7 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Probably useful keeping this in perspective.)

    Actually, for the last year known it is 15 per 100,000 and going up.

    To put this in perspective,

    1. What is the Maternal Death Rate for men? Zero.

    2. What is the probability that frotown will die or show permanent damage from pregnancy and child birth. Since frotown is likely male, it is zero.

    To put all this in perspective, being a forced birther and female slaver looks a lot different and more acceptable if….you are the slave master and enforcer.

    BTW, the average family size in the USA is 2+. The probability of an American woman dying of pregnancy related causes at some time is doubled to 30 per 100,000. or 1 per 3,000. I’m sure frotown finds that no big deal.

  142. Socio-gen, something something... says

    dianne: I was wondering, are there stats available on serious complications during pregnancy that did not result in maternal death? My adrenal glands failed during my second pregnancy which, although I was able to carry to term (with great doctors and a whole lotta luck) left me on corticosteroids for the rest of my life.

    Risk of death is only part of the risk women run during pregnancy.

  143. John Horstman says

    Bodily autonomy handles all of their questions/objections by making them irrelevant. We can grant a fetus every single right enjoyed by adults, consider it an equal person, and it STILL doesn’t have the right to inhabit someone’s body against hir will. (Also, forced birth meets the legal definition of rape, though the penetration is coming from the opposite direction of what we commonly recognize as rape. Do they really want to lock up all unwanted newborns as rapists? Unlikely, but then many of them also want to relax laws against rape, so this line of argumentation may be a no-go.) Forced pregnancy is wrong for the same reason rape and slavery are wrong – they’re imposed abnegations of bodily autonomy. I don’t care if your only means of survival is enslaving someone for 9 months – you don’t have that right, and neither does a fetus (I think analogies to slavery are stronger than to organ and tissue donation, though both are valid).

  144. frowntown says

    @I’ve got the WTF blues

    Let me rephrase. They said that the arguments work even if the child is a person. That’s what I am addressing. So yes, if clostridium was a person (meaning, for short, I suppose “an entity that deserves equal rights under the law”), then the same argument would apply.

    Yes, that’s true. I am allowing my moral sensibilities to override the moral sensibilities of others. This happens all the time and throughout history. There are some folks who disagree that they should be stopped or punished for violate a law. For example, when people believe that the age of consent is antiquated. Or in history, when a large number of people decided that skin color, rather than location, was a valid characteristic over which they should discriminate, or that being unconscious or really, really intoxicated means that someone consented to sex, or that certain members of our species are subhuman and deserve death, etc.

  145. says

    I am a strong believer in the utility of contraception. I hope for a time when contraception works 100% of the time and doesn’t need to be regularly maintained, so that people can have all the sex, pleasurable, promiscuous or otherwise, without risking creating needy and endangered humans who are likely to be killed.

    Well, that’s just super. Do you have any reality-based ideas? Do you not understand that many of the same people fighting against abortion rights and access are also trying mightily to restrict access to contraception, as well as education? Does rape also magically disappear in your googly googly gumdrop world?

  146. says

    Maternal death rates for women of color are significantly higher than those for white women in the USA.

    Frowntown, does this mean that abortion is an ethical choice for women of color, but not for white women?

    What is the cutoff, exactly? How much risk of death is it OK to force another person to undertake?

  147. raven says

    frotown

    Until that exists, I simply think both responsible parties should be held responsible.

    Bingo!!!

    Frotown is a forced birther and female slaver. One of the anti-humans of the anti-life crowd.

    And who cares what you think? And why should they? We just have to keep an eye on your kind. That is what the police, laws, courts, and prisons are for.

    Next up. More lies and some threats from the kook. That is all they have.

  148. says

    How does paying their medical bills magically regrow their kidney or replace the lost blood?

    It doesn’t, but no one ever said legal compensation was perfect. You can do something for the other person short of suffering a drastic infringement of your autonomy. You don’t have that option with an embryo/fetus.

  149. says

    But the forced organ donation analogy is a lousy analogy: pregnancy doesn’t have much in common with permanently surrendering an organ.

    And permanently receiving an organ does not entail occupying another person’s body and causing them enormous pain and discomfort for the better part of a year.

    It’s the best analogy we’ve got.

  150. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Frowntown, I would really like an answer to 121.

    suppose a woman has horrible pregnancy-related complications, has kidney failure and needs a kidney donation. Should the man who impregnated her be forced to donate it (I’m talking physical force, in case he resists)? Does your answer depend on whether he wanted the pregnancy and, if he didn’t, whether he took due precautions to prevent it?

  151. frowntown says

    Raven… don’t you realize that the statistics are far, far worse, when considered from the perspective of the fetus?

    Nearly 100% of them lose their lives following an attempt at abortion. Over a million per year, 1/4 (IIRC) of all pregnancies. The stats game isn’t going to work.

    And what do you say to females who make the exact same arguments that I make?

    And btw, have you ever noticed that all the people making pro abortion arguments are already born? A lot easier to be the executioner when you never face execution, right?

    That line of reasoning simply won’t settle this, assuming the unborn are persons.

    To John, I don’t know what to say until you go back and read my threads above, answering my questions, etc. It would be foolish to simply copy/paste what I previously said, so I need to know precisely what the problem is.

  152. I've got the WTF blues says

    [Oops, I forgot to mention the year. It was 2007, which at least in 2011 was the most recent stats available. I don’t have time to look further right now. But I think it suffices to show that pregnancy is not so dangerous as some would have you believe, especially when compared to the nearly 100% death rate of abortions, which, according to the constraints of this discussion, kills over a million morally innocent persons each year, in our nation alone.]

    16.7 per 100,000 in the US. Take a look at the numbers for Afghanistan. It should make you feel all warm and fuzzy, since the 1575 per 100,000 women who die there don’t have the option of abortion. Or as you call it, the murder of “over a million morally innocent persons.” There’s your utopia, Frowntown.

    Fetus=morally innocent (whatever the fuck that means) As opposed to those wanton slut women who deserve to die for having sex. Or as my kids call me, Mom.

  153. dianne says

    But the forced organ donation analogy is a lousy analogy: pregnancy doesn’t have much in common with permanently surrendering an organ.

    As I noted earlier, tissue donation such as blood or marrow, is substantially safer than pregnancy. And less likely to result in permanent morbidity. And it’s not uncommon-in fact it’s the norm-to have only one option for marrow donor, just as the embryo only has one option for uterus donor (unless it’s an IVF product, of course). Blood is usually more fungible, but there are people who have such rare blood types and so many antibodies that they have only a very small number of potential donors. Especially with platelets. Tricky things, platelets. Not to mention that pregnancy quite often results in permanent damage to one or more organs. The uterus, obviously, is changed, but the pancreas may never recover from the stress, the heart may be permanently enlarged and less functional, the blood vessels may undergo quite a number of changes, etc.

  154. dianne says

    And btw, have you ever noticed that all the people making pro abortion arguments are already born?

    As are all the people making the anti-choice argument. What does that tell you about the “unborn” and their ability to think, feel, and participate in a conversation?

  155. dianne says

    It doesn’t, but no one ever said legal compensation was perfect. You can do something for the other person short of suffering a drastic infringement of your autonomy.

    Nope. If the person’s going to die without the organ or tissue then they’re going to die without the organ or tissue, no matter how much you try to excuse yourself with talk about paying their medical bills.

  156. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    don’t you realize that the statistics are far, far worse, when considered from the perspective of the fetus?

    The fetus isn’t a person, like the woman carrying it. NON-SEQUITUR FUCKWIT.

  157. John Horstman says

    @157:

    The fetus has not taken actions which knowingly violate someone else’s rights, so they are morally innocent. That’s what I meant, that’s basically what I said.

    I (and others) are asserting that inhabiting someone’s body against hir will is an action that violates hir rights. Intent is not magic, so I object to your use of the qualifier “knowingly”.

  158. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    assuming the unborn are persons.

    The aren’t, and never will be. You must be born to be a person. End of story. You lose, and lost before you started. Typical of liars and bullshitters who twist definitions beyond reason.

  159. frowntown says

    “suppose a woman has horrible pregnancy-related complications, has kidney failure and needs a kidney donation. Should the man who impregnated her be forced to donate it (I’m talking physical force, in case he resists)? Does your answer depend on whether he wanted the pregnancy and, if he didn’t, whether he took due precautions to prevent it?”

    That is disanalogous for several reasons: 1) She participated consensually in the act 2) It is an incredibly infrequent condition to result from pregnancy (far less common than the 1+ in 3 women who end up with unwanted pregnancies) and therefore might be more of a freak accident, rather than something a responsible person should expect to occur 3) The woman is not donating an organ, she is donating the use of an organ (we already punish mothers who fail to do this, when they cannot reach a second, safe guardian… e.g., consider the woman in the snowstorm… We also force fathers to give of the products of the use of their internal organs, whether they ever wanted a child or not. I think that’s a good thing.)

    There might be other disanalogous aspects. I will consider it further. But for now I think it’s worth pointing out that if some or all of those were not disanalogous, my calculus would change (for example, probably (1) by itself. I’d need to consider the rest. The fact of the matter is that in your example the woman is equally responsible for the state in which she finds herself.)

  160. frowntown says

    @Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Sigh. I don’t blame you for not having read this long thread. But the discussion (since I joined) is predicated on the idea that *even if the unborn are person*, then bodily autonomy arguments apply. The pro-legalized abortion folks said this. So I am playing according to their rules.

  161. dianne says

    I think most of us would regard as grotesque a law that compelled self-mutilation under any circumstances

    You mean a law like one that forced you to put yourself in a situation where you’ve got a 1 in 3 chance of requiring major surgery, at least one organ will be irreparably changed, you have a near certainty of at least minor side effects and a moderate chance of severe side effects, and a high risk of making any concurrent medical problems such as diabetes, hypertension, or hypercoaguability more severe? Yeah, that’d be pretty bad. Oh, wait, we have those. They’re called “abortion restrictions”.

  162. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    frowntown: … don’t you realize that the statistics are far, far worse, when considered from the perspective of the fetus?”

    The fetus is not sentient. It does not have a perspective. And even if it did have a perspective as an intelligent being, it would have the right to enslave and make use of another human being for 9 months.

    frowntown Nearly 100% of them lose their lives following an attempt at abortion.

    Being that over 95% (or is 97%?) of abortions happen when the fetus cannot live outside the human body it is being evicted from, yes, they cease to live. Tell us something we don’t know.

    frowntown: Over a million per year, 1/4 (IIRC) of all pregnancies. The stats game isn’t going to work.

    Again, what is the significance of that number to you? To me, the significance is that 1,000,000 women are not forced to resentfully care for children they neither want nor can afford. Clearly, to you, that number of unhappy women and dysfunctional family units, and all their concomitant social, political, and economic costs are not a factor. Which means, QED you are a loathesome, woman-hating misogynist.

    frowntown: And what do you say to females who make the exact same arguments that I make?

    We say exactly the same things: forced-birther, female-slaver, etc. Gender does not excuse a poor argument or abusive practice.

    frowntown: And btw, have you ever noticed that all the people making pro abortion arguments are already born?

    Likewise, you are here, rather than being the 1/2 of your chromosomes flushed down the toilet in a crumpled-up piece of tissue. The already-born are who are really at issue here — the actual, living, breathing, thinking women who make the choice to maintain or terminate pregnancies — and whom you continue to ignore and discount.

    You are who you are, frowntown — your every word convicts you. And as sexist, misogynist, authoritarian piece of trash, your words have not legal, moral, or logical weight.

  163. raven says

    blockquote>socio-gen:

    dianne: I was wondering, are there stats available on serious complications during pregnancy that did not result in maternal death?

    I’m not Dianne but was wondering the same.

    Maternal morbidity and serious pregnancy complications will be several fold the death rate of 15 per 100K per pregnancy.

    But my Google search didn’t turn up any numbers although they should exist.

    And I’m out of time. Frotown hasn’t and won’t say anything I haven’t heard ad infinitum since the 1970’s. He really should just skip the intervening steps and finish with the usual death threats.

  164. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    She participated consensually in the act

    Irrelevant and immaterial (been watching Perry Mason). Typical forced birther lies and bullshit.

    I will consider it further. B

    I doubt it. You are incapable of considering that a woman is a full human being with utter and total bodily integrity, and never will be able to consider that truth. More lies and bullshit.

    even if the unborn are person

    Your presupposition is rejected, Your pressupposition is not discussed. It is dimissed as irrelevant and immaterial to any ration discussion, only fit for presuppositional fuckwittery like you present.

  165. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    don’t you realize that the statistics are far, far worse, when considered from the perspective of the fetus?

    No. I didn’t realize this. Could you please point me to a fetus writing about this so that I can get a fetus’ perspective?

    Thanks ever so.

  166. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The pro-legalized abortion folks said this. So I am playing according to their rules.

    No, you only play by our rules when you ignore the fetus, and give the woman full and utter bodily integrity like you expect yourself to have. Until then, you have nothing cogent to say, and prove that with every inane post.

  167. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Sigh. Sentence below from post 177 above with the proper “NOT” added:

    . . . .And even if it did have a perspective as an intelligent being, it would NOT have the right to enslave and make use of another human being for 9 months.

  168. I've got the WTF blues says

    Let me rephrase. They said that the arguments work even if the child is a person. That’s what I am addressing. So yes, if clostridium was a person (meaning, for short, I suppose “an entity that deserves equal rights under the law”), then the same argument would apply.

    Still not working there, Sparky. But I suppose I shouldn’t expect much from someone who quotes Reagan to support their POV.

    It works whether either a b/z/e/f or clostridium is a person or not. Both can be evicted by the host as the host sees fit.

    I’ve noticed you do not believe women meet your standards for “personhood.”

  169. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Frowntown:

    The fetus has not taken actions which knowingly violate someone else’s rights, so they are morally innocent.

    I would like to dwell a bit on what you said here.
    If a fetus had the capability to form intent, to act on it, and to understand the concepts of “someone else” and of “rights”, and willingly chose to take up residence in the uterus of an unwilling host, then the fetus would certainly be guilty of something. The only reason the fetus is “morally innocent” by your definition is that it is incapable of being morally culpable. It is morally innocent in the same way that a bullet or a rabid dog are morally innocent: through not being a person.

  170. says

    “It’s the best analogy we’ve got.”

    And that’s why I wouldn’t rest on these analogies.

    Here’s my first problem with Judith Jarvis Thomson: she says in her famous article: assume for the purposes of discussion that the fetus is fully human, a person, a rights-possessor, whatever. Then suppose a concert violinist, or forced organ donation, et al. A rational person could look at those examples and say, perfectly sensibly, I’ll value the life of this actual human over the autonomy of the pregnant woman. There is nothing to prevent a rational person from making that choice when confronted with a conflict of fundamental rights.

    I much prefer the approach that Myers seems to be advocating above: where we draw the line regarding a continuum that results in an unquestioned rights-bearing human is arbitrary. Why draw it in such a way as to infringe so drastically on a woman’s autonomy? And even if abortion before the drawn line of birth or viability were morally problematic (though it isn’t on this argument), that would be a poor argument for prohibition, as the law should NOT prohibit actions that are merely problematic (hypothetical evils or harms).

  171. jeffreylewis says

    It took me too long to write this, so I’ve probably fallen behind in the conversation, but here’s my comment.

    The same should apply in the cases of abortion: a woman is not compelled to serve as a human incubator. The advantage of this kind of argument is that is bypasses the messy bickering about personhood altogether and focuses on the utilitarian philosophical bedrock.

    Frowntown at #92 already mentioned what I see as where this analogy breaks down, even if I don’t agree with all of that comment. You had nothing to do with the violin virtuoso nor his condition, whereas in the case of a non-rape pregnancy, two people consensually engaged in an act with a known risk of causing a pregnancy. The main point of bringing this up is only for the people saying that ‘personhood’ is a red herring. It’s not. If a blastula had any type of a nervous system or emotional life, then early term abortions would be problematic. But they don’t, so they’re not.

    It does begin to pose more of a problem as the nervous system develops, which is why I would have more or less agreed with the status quo from a few years ago before many states started passing such draconian anti-abortion laws – no restrictions on first trimester abortions, and then increasing levels of regulation for later term abortions / inductions, but still allowing them for reasons the doctor and woman considered to be valid.

    I can’t think of how to properly express this next thought, so bear with me, but once a baby is born and granted full legal rights as a person, then both parents do have a moral and legal obligation to care for it. That’s what child-support payments are about. The two people who created the baby are expected to take care of it, and can be arrested for abuse or neglect if they don’t. Without going through legal channels to give up the baby, they can’t abandon their responsibility for the life they’ve created. That’s why I think ‘personhood’ is part of the consideration in balancing a fetus’s rights against those of the mother during pregnancy. (And remember, like I said above, that I don’t think a fetus has the same rights as the fully-human woman, especially before the developing brain begins to actually work.)

    Sally Strange and a few others did present an interesting thought experiment I hadn’t considered before – compelled donations from people who caused injury to others. Aside from aaronbaker’s point that people can provide other means to make up for the injury (e.g. monetary), I think from a practical standpoint, it would be more difficult. In the case of pregnancy from consensual sex, it’s many occurences of a common set of circumstances, so you can engage in discussions like this to reason out general arguments. But in accidents, they’re almost always going to be on a case by case basis. Who was responisble for the accident? How responsible? How dangerous of an action were they committing? I think the cases would have to go to court to be ruled on, and I think the level of confidence would have to be as high as the criminal standard, not merely the civil standard.

    It’s a little different if it was a deliberate action instead of an accident. I don’t know enough about the medical field to give a good example on this, but here’s my best shot at it. If a criminal shot someone in the chest and the victim ended up requiring a lung transplant, would it be justifiable to take a lung from the criminal? It was their action that was solely responsible for the state of the victim. But part of the problem with this thought experiment is that taking a lung from the criminal is not usually the only option to save the victim’s life, and if they’re not compatible, not even a viable option.

  172. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’ve got the WTF blues to Frowntown
    I’ve noticed you do not believe women meet your standards for “personhood.”

    Right, woman are full humans equal to men. Prove otherwise with solid and conclusive scientific evidence Frowntown.

  173. raven says

    The fetus has not taken actions which knowingly violate someone else’s rights, so they are morally innocent.

    You could say the same thing about the rock or tree in my yard. In that way, a fetus is equivalent but so what?

    This is completely irrelevant.

  174. mbrysonb says

    @86: I mention it only because this was part of how their side tried to set up the optics– she belongs, of course, to a church deeply invested in male authority, but on this issue they’ve come to recognize that putting big daddy up on stage doesn’t help sell the goods.

  175. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Frowntown, I’ve been debating abortion since Roe v. Wade. You are repeating already soundly refuted fuckwitted arguments. They have been fuckwitted arguments since R v. W + 1 day. You add nothing new whatsoever, other than you making the inane blather….

  176. frowntown says

    John, it’s not *only* that they are innocent of having freely chosen some course of action which led to the rights of the another being violated. It’s that the mother and father took action that knowingly risked *putting the unborn human there.*

    I’ve found the need to add a million qualifiers in these conversations, like stipulating “innocent”, because too often pro-legalized abortion folks leap to things like war, police actions, the death penalty, etc. I’m just trying to avoid a long drawn out conversation about the fact that people can surrender their rights under certain conditions, but that the fetus has not taken an action sufficient to abrogate its rights, and certainly not its paramount right to life.

    The fact that the mother and father knowingly risked causing the needy and endangered state, and that they are the only actors who engaged in a freely chosen action which led directly to the state, means that the fetus cannot be (morally) punished for acts that were forced upon it. We don’t normally punish other humans beings (especially unto death!) for actions over which they had literally no control, when the person who wants to punish them is *entirely* responsible for the circumstances in question.

    We normally recognize such actions as being unjust.

    See my snowstorm example, for instance. The fact that the newborn requires painful attachment to the mother does not imply that she can leave it to starve, much less purposely kill it.

  177. says

    WE’ll consider the matter of forcing women to carry to term when I can force a dude to donate the use of his spleen for me. Doesn’t matter if the fetus is a person or not. If a dude can’t be forced to loan out the use of his organs for a pre-determined period, it flatly doesn’t matter whether you consider fetuses people or not (They’re not).

  178. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Whaddaya expect? They’re Christians, and even the nice ones are allowed, by that twisted creed of theirs, to believe whatever they want to, so long as it proves their fictions are the only ones that matter – and maybe… probably, the only ones that should be allowed to exist (though, again, the nice ones don’t say that – in public, anyway, or when they’re a minority.)

    When you’re building your life upon the sandcastle of the Jesus (or Mohammed or Buddha or Xenu or whatever) story being necessarily true and proven in all essentials, and demand it be allowed to dominate all discussions and decide all questions (in accordance with your interpretation of what is best at any particular moment, especially for yourself, lying about everything all the time is a minor issue, compared to the essential Truth you are offering – at such a low, low price, too!

  179. Forbidden Snowflake says

    That is disanalogous for several reasons: 1) She participated consensually in the act

    And so did he. So what is disanalogous here?

    2) It is an incredibly infrequent condition to result from pregnancy (far less common than the 1+ in 3 women who end up with unwanted pregnancies) and therefore might be more of a freak accident, rather than something a responsible person should expect to occur

    So what? I don’t see you carving out exceptions for people who were impregnated due to an extremely unlikely failure of a usually-reliable contraceptive. If women should be forced to give birth because they should have known sex leads to babies, then men should be forced to donate blood/kidneys/other because they should have known that pregnancies have complications.

    3) The woman is not donating an organ, she is donating the use of an organ (we already punish mothers who fail to do this, when they cannot reach a second, safe guardian… e.g., consider the woman in the snowstorm… We also force fathers to give of the products of the use of their internal organs, whether they ever wanted a child or not. I think that’s a good thing.)

    1. When the work performed causes permanent changes to the body, it doesn’t actually matter if it’s an organ or the use of an organ. And you were already told the death rates are similar.
    2. No, paying money is not analogous to giving organs or the use of organs. Cut it out.

    There might be other disanalogous aspects. I will consider it further.

    So far you failed to properly refute any part of the analogy.

    The fact of the matter is that in your example the woman is equally responsible for the state in which she finds herself.)

    The woman who, in your opinion, should die, is “equally responsible” with the man who shouldn’t be forced to take the same amount of risk that she did by getting pregnant. You’re not making much sense here.

  180. GrouperFish says

    Hey PZ! I’m flattered you responded.

    I disagree. I think abortion is ok because a fetus is a life but the woman is a person. Most people find themselves at that point after birth control failure or other kinds of mistakes in judgment. That’s ok. However, having a “whimsical” pregnancy is irresponsible and disrespectful to life and the subsequent “whimsical” abortion would be just as bad. To me at least.

    Its sort of similar to the fact I am ok eating meat and using leather, but I wouldn’t kill an animal on a whim. That includes animals with limited cognitive capacity like ants. Sure, I kill them accidentally underfoot and purposefully when they get in my cupboard but I think its really messed up to go out and squish them for fun.

    Maybe its inconsistent that I am an atheist but I consider life sacred in a sense. I protect that sacredness of life by insisting that the creation and destruction of life is thoughtful. It doesn’t mean that life always wins because there are many other sides to consider (like the needs of other living things, aware beings, and persons), but I do have to think about it and justify its destruction before I do it. Man, I don’t even chop down trees without asking if I really have to do it or not, because trees are gorgeous examples of life.

    Would you destroy zebra fish embryos for fun? Or is it only ok because it is for science? (I know that science is fun.) Do you have to write an IACUC plan detailing how the destruction of zebra fish embryos is thoughtful and not whimsical?

  181. frowntown says

    @Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    Ohhhh, I get it. You go on making rabid, unsubstantiated accusations about misogyny (refusing to note the context where things were said, e.g., where I responded to someone saying, “to put all this in perspective, being a forced birther and female slaver looks a lot different and more acceptable if….you are the slave master and enforcer.”), refusing to engage with the actual claims being made, until people give up and stop talking, due to sheer irritation, rather than a lack of capability, and then you accuse them of “sticking the flounce.”

    LOL. I have a better way of dealing with that. I’ll continue to speak to those *actually calmly engaging what I am saying* (at least until I take a break), and ignore the people who refuse to deal with the arguments and insist on saying “these arguments suck, yeah!” and “you have a penis, evil penis haver.”

    If you want to come back down from screed-mode to conversation-mode, feel free, and I’ll be happy to engage your carefully reasoned points.

  182. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    that they are innocent of having freely chosen some course of action which led to the rights of the another being violated. It’s that the mother and father took action that knowingly risked *putting the unborn human there.*

    Gee fuckwit, why should having sex when procreation wasn’t the intended point be penalized. Oh, right, your RELIGIOUS THINKING, or rather unthinkingpresuppositiions. STOP TRYING TO IMPOSE YOUR RELIGION UPON ANYBODY ELSE. I HAVE THE FREEDOM FROM YOUR RELIGION…

    but that the fetus has not taken an action sufficient to abrogate its rights,

    It has no rights. It isn’t a person, and won’t be until it it born. OXYMORONIC thinking. Next fallacy.

    See my snowstorm example, for instance.

    Hypothetical fuckwittery from a fuckwitted thinker. Non-sequitur from start to finish. Next logical fallacy….

  183. jeffreylewis says

    Oh boy, after reading more comments, I feel a little dirty for having agreed with frowntown at all:

    The fetus has not taken actions which knowingly violate someone else’s rights, so they are morally innocent. That’s what I meant, that’s basically what I said.

    Replace ‘fetus’ with ‘Group A streptococci’, and the ‘moral innocence’ hasn’t changed, but I don’t think even frowntown would use that as a reason to outlaw antibiotics.

  184. says

    John, it’s not *only* that they are innocent of having freely chosen some course of action which led to the rights of the another being violated. It’s that the mother and father took action that knowingly risked *putting the unborn human there.*

    Sucks to be them.

    I’m just trying to avoid a long drawn out conversation about the fact that people can surrender their rights under certain conditions, but that the fetus has not taken an action sufficient to abrogate its rights, and certainly not its paramount right to life.

    Nope. None of that matters. You’re going out of your way to pretend only women and a few trans men can ever have can pre-emptively lose bodily autonomy.

    . We don’t normally punish other humans beings (especially unto death!) for actions over which they had literally no control, when the person who wants to punish them is *entirely* responsible for the circumstances in question.

    Do you know how many people could have used one of your kidneys? You’ve punished an otherwise innocent person with death for not giving it up.

    We normally recognize such actions as being unjust.

    We never recognize it as unjust that one chooses to retain full use of their body for themselves except when women are doing it.

    See my snowstorm example, for instance. The fact that the newborn requires painful attachment to the mother does not imply that she can leave it to starve, much less purposely kill it.

    Breastfeeding != Carrying to term in commitment or effort required, and certainly not in risks taken. And it’s not lost on me that you can only make examples that almost entirely apply to women.

  185. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Frowntown still hasn’t acknowledge women are fully human with utter and total bodily integrity, but hasn’t shown one iota of evidence why they aren’t. Until Frowntown concentrates on the fully recognized as human person, and not a hypothetical whatever, it can’t have a rational point….

  186. frowntown says

    Forbidden Snowflake, thanks for calmly discussing this.

    It’s disanalogous because the “victim” in the case of abortion is 100% not responsible for the state they find themselves in, whereas the woman, in your example, is (probably) 50% responsible IF the sex was consensual.

    See what I mean?

    We’ll start with that. We can return to your other points later. I’m not sure what you mean about the death rates being similar. I will review the comments again (one is 99+% likely to cause death), one is far, far, far less likely. The conversation is getting unwieldy, as I am replying to a lot of people.

  187. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    frowntown: The fact that the newborn requires painful attachment to the mother does not imply that she can leave it to starve, much less purposely kill it

    Um, fail on several fronts, frowntown.

    “painful attachment to the mother”

    It’s not attached to the mother; it’s INSIDE the mother, parasatising her. Use words knowingly, please (actually, I think you do, you’re just being slippery)

    “does not imply that she can leave it to starve . . ”

    As a matter of fact, it does. Women (and men — they’re parents, too) have throughout history had to leave babies or disabled or sickly children behind to die of thirst, starvation, cold, or predation — when they are nomads, or when they are farmers forced out of their farms by natural disasters or war. Why don’t you watch “The Joy Luck Club” for some scenes of just that decision.

    “much less purposely kill it”

    Oh, fuck me, frowntown; leaving a child to die of starvation, etc. is tantamount to killing; and in fact parents would kill their children to keep them from suffering (so many examples, both ancient AND modern, of that).

    You’re flailing now, and demonstrating real ignorance.

  188. jeffreylewis says

    Oh, and having just read Sally Strange’s comment #148, I would modify point 1 to say something like, ‘People who do not desire to have children should use all appropriate birth control methods, and if the woman does become pregnant, get an abortion before it develops to the point where there would even be any question as to the fetus’s personhood.’

  189. frowntown says

    Nerd of Redhead… please.. read carefully.

    I acknowledge the full humanity and personhood of women, who have rights equal to all other persons

    The context of this discussion is that bodily rights arguments apply EVEN IF THE UNBORN IS A PERSON. In other words, those on the pro-legalized abortion side would need to make their argument after agreeing (at lest for the sake of argument) that “I acknowledge the full humanity and personhood of the unborn, who have rights equal to all other persons.”)

    If you don’t want to have that discussion, that’s fine. Feel free not to. But stop pretending that that isn’t the conversation that is happening.

  190. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s disanalogous because the “victim” in the case of abortion

    There is no victim. Victim requires a person, a definition not met by a fetus. More fallacies from the presuppositional fuckwit.

  191. frowntown says

    “As a matter of fact, it does. Women (and men — they’re parents, too) have throughout history had to leave babies or disabled or sickly children behind to die of thirst, starvation, cold, or predation — when they are nomads, or when they are farmers forced out of their farms by natural disasters or war. Why don’t you watch “The Joy Luck Club” for some scenes of just that decision.”

    Sorry, I was using the loose *moral*/*legal* “can.” As in, “just because you don’t like someone, doesn’t mean that you can slit their throat!”

    I thought that was clear from the statement. Maybe you’re just purposely misinterpreting (ohhh snap! see how much that attack on your motive added to the conversation?! Right. Nothing.)

  192. Forbidden Snowflake says

    but that the fetus has not taken an action sufficient to abrogate its rights,

    Yes, because it’s not a person, not a moral agent and is incapable of forming intent or taking action. If it were, implanting itself in an unwilling host’s uterus would certainly warrant abrogating its rights.
    It’s inconsistent to keep pressing the “innocence” point while simultaneously claiming that a fetus is a person.

  193. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I acknowledge the full humanity and personhood of women, who have rights equal to all other persons

    Yet you deny them, as you don’t grant them full and utter bodily integrity.

    EVEN IF THE UNBORN IS A PERSON.

    THERE IS NO THING A AN UNBORN PERSON. It is is subhuman fetus, W. YOUR PRESUPPOSITION IS DISMISSED WITHOUT EVIDENCE.

    If you don’t want to have that discussion, that’s fine. Feel free not to. But stop pretending that that isn’t the conversation that is happening.

    That discussion is only happening in your delusional mind. NOBODY HERE ACCEPTS THAT A FETUS IS AN UNBORN HUMAN FOR EVEN DISCUSSION PURPOSES. Why arern’t you seeing the truth?

  194. Amphigorey says

    Frowntown is yet another in a long line of examples of forced-birthers who only care that women should suffer consequences for the sin of having sex.

  195. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Frowntown is yet another in a long line of examples of forced-birthers who only care that women should suffer consequences for the sin of having sex.

    QFMFT

  196. frowntown says

    Rutee.. I don’t know where to start, except to say that it seems like you didn’t bother reading everything above. I don’t blame you, but I hope you don’t blame me for repeating it ad nauseum. I think you’ll know what I mean when you consider how my comments apply to

    “Do you know how many people could have used one of your kidneys? You’ve punished an otherwise innocent person with death for not giving it up.”

    I addressed this many times above.

  197. Socio-gen, something something... says

    GrouperFish @ 195

    However, having a “whimsical” pregnancy is irresponsible and disrespectful to life and the subsequent “whimsical” abortion would be just as bad. To me at least.

    I’m not PZ, but I wish I knew were all these supposed “whimsical” people were hanging out, because I’ve never actually heard of anyone saying, “I just feel like having KFC today…and, oh yeah…I’ll guess I’ll trot over and get myself an abortion too.”

  198. says

    frowntown

    Forbidden Snowflake, thanks for calmly discussing this.

    And heeeere’s tone trolling! Is there actually a script you assholes read off of, or is it just the fundamental bankruptcy of your position that leads you all to sound exactly the same?

  199. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I addressed this many times above.

    You haven’t addressed why the woman, with full and utter bodily integrity, must become a slave to group of cells you call a person. Since you can’t demonstrate with real evidence it is a person. Only presuppose that inane and religious concept….

  200. says

    It’s really too bad that embryos can’t survive without access to a functioning uterus, but that fact doesn’t obligate a woman to donate the use of her uterus any more than the fact that a kidney disease patient’s certain death obligates anyone to donate their kidney. Frowntown’s insistence that consenting to sex entails some sort of moral obligation to donate the use of your uterus to said utero doesn’t hold up unless you’re also willing to endorse government-mandated organ donations, which Frowntown has said he’d consider, putting him squarely in the camp of the immoral authoritarian fascist types whose moral judgment it is safe to ignore.

    QED.

  201. says

    I acknowledge the full humanity and personhood of the unborn, who have rights equal to all other persons.

    I reject the entirety of your assumptions. I do not even accept the nonsensical terminology of the “unborn”, which has about as much basis in reality as the term “undead”.

    I do accept the full humanity and personhood of women, and grant no concessions at all to the dogmatic anti-choicers who try to deny them autonomy.

  202. says

    Dianne wrote:

    “As I noted earlier, tissue donation such as blood or marrow, is substantially safer than pregnancy. And less likely to result in permanent morbidity.”

    Aren’t we moving the goalposts a bit? I was talking about organ (not tissue or blood) donation. You obviously know more about the physiology than I do–but doesn’t donating a kidney significantly increase your long-term risk of needing dialysis? And as you’ve indicated, organs are far more fungible than bone marrow.

    By contrast, there are always only two options with a pregnancy–one uniformly fatal to the fetus. Your noting the frequent inadequacy of money damages in a lot of contexts doesn’t change the fact that you can, much of the time, compensate someone you’ve injured without surrendering your autonomy. In this regard, the question or organ donation is very dissimilar to pregnancy.

    None of this matters once one has decided not to attribute rights to a (pre-birth or pre-viability) fetus. If, however, someone is convinced for whatever reason that the fetus is a fully human being, with a right to continue living, I don’t see the organ donor analogy swaying them. Why should it? They’ve elected to value human life above autonomy–and that’s a value judgment that I see no way of arguing a person out of.

    Btw, for whatever its worth, I approve completely of your eloquent and (so far as I can tell) expert summary of the risks of pregnancy. You put much better than I could one of the main reasons a person should be pro-choice.

  203. says

    Rutee.. I don’t know where to start, except to say that it seems like you didn’t bother reading everything above.

    Your halfwitted attempts at rebutting the position that doesn’t suck for women and some trans men didn’t all warrant individual responses. That doesn’t mean I didn’t read.

    I addressed this many times above.

    Did I miss you advocating for laws forcing everyone, regardless of gender, to give up their organs? If not, you haven’t.

  204. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    SallyStrange, it’s a risk *they took*, at least in the 97+% cases where an abortion follows consensual sex. They already knowingly risked bringing a needy and endangered human into the world. I’m simply saying that they shouldn’t be able to purposely kill that person to avoid their responsibility to it.

    They didn’t risk that if they knew the woman would seek an abortion in the event that happened, in which case nothing would be brought into the world.

    As to the idea that by fucking you’re consenting to carry a pregnancy and give birth: suppose a friend asks you for “a favor” and you say “sure, what do you need?” Is that “sure” now a binding consent to donate a kidney?

  205. frowntown says

    “d. NOBODY HERE ACCEPTS THAT A FETUS IS AN UNBORN HUMAN FOR EVEN DISCUSSION PURPOSES. ”

    LOL.

    13

    “The point is that as a society we have agreed that nobody is to use somebody else’s body without permision. Doesn’t matter if fertilized eggs get personhood (but it would make a mess of population statistics).”

    57

    What people are generally saying is that this is not even relevant, because it’s an issue of autonomy anyway:

    60

    Here’s a much better one: the woman’s bodily autonomy. Newsflash: it does not matter how sentient a fetus is, because it is inside another living person who also has personhood rights.

    78

    The crucial point is that even if embryos were persons that still would not change the outcome. The right to bodily autonomy is not abrogated by the presence of another person.

    82
    Their rights don’t supercede the woman’s personhood. Full stop.

    And in 92 (and over, and over and over again since) I *explicitly stated that this is the line of reasoning I was responding to.*

    Is this really so diffifcult to understand?

    Sorry for be so “delusional”

    LOL

  206. Forbidden Snowflake says

    It’s disanalogous because the “victim” in the case of abortion is 100% not responsible for the state they find themselves in, whereas the woman, in your example, is (probably) 50% responsible IF the sex was consensual.

    See what I mean?

    I see that you are suffering a reading comprehension failure. Here, once again, is what I asked:

    suppose a woman has horrible pregnancy-related complications, has kidney failure and needs a kidney donation. Should the man who impregnated her be forced to donate it (I’m talking physical force, in case he resists)? Does your answer depend on whether he wanted the pregnancy and, if he didn’t, whether he took due precautions to prevent it?

    You replied in 173 that the analogy is wrong because she willingly participated in the act (implying that the man who impregnated her didn’t? Don’t know what the fuck you were trying to say), and also that he shouldn’t have to save the woman he impregnated and her fetus, because who could have predicted a situation like that. So we’ve established that in your book, the rights of the fetus end when protecting them requires that a man do something.
    The “similar death rates” comment referred to the data cited in the thread about death rates being similar for pregnancy and for kidney donation.

  207. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @frowntown

    when considered from the perspective of the fetus?

    Once again, I ask you for the writings of a fetus, so I can understand at least one fetus’ perspective as well as you do.

    Perhaps a television interview? I would even watch a clip from fox news.

    I merely want the same insight into the perspective of a fetus that you have. What is this perspective of which you speak? Outline it for us, preferably with a few citations to primary sources.

    Please?

    Obviously the perspective of a fetus is important to your argument. What could be bad about helping me understand your argument?

    Pretty please?

  208. frowntown says

    PZ Meyers

    “I reject the entirety of your assumptions. ”

    Right, which means that, if you refuse to do so at least for the sake of discussion, then you are not even trying to reply to the point I am making.

    The point I am making was made *explicitly* and repeatedly in response to those who said that *even if the fetus is a person/has rights/sentience/etc*, the bodily rights argument still obtains.

    I was recently accused of being “delusional” for assuming that any such people exist, but they are literally crawling all over this thread.

    I do appreciate the use of your comment board and your honesty, so thanks.

  209. says

    I mean, since you think so highly of your weak-ass attempt, here.

    That is disanalogous for several reasons: 1) She participated consensually in the act

    Irrelevant in every other situation that doesn’t involve a uterus.

    2) It is an incredibly infrequent condition to result from pregnancy (far less common than the 1+ in 3 women who end up with unwanted pregnancies) and therefore might be more of a freak accident, rather than something a responsible person should expect to occur

    Irrelevant in every other situation that doesn’t involve a uterus.

    3) The woman is not donating an organ, she is donating the use of an organ

    Irrelevant in every situation that doesn’t involve a uterus.

    That was pretty fucking stupid of you, all told, to think this shit matters./

  210. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What people are generally saying is that this is not even relevant, because it’s an issue of autonomy anyway:

    Sorry for be so “delusional”

    It is utter and totally an issue of bodily autonomy, which, since you fail to discuss, you concede that women have utter and total bodily integrity, and since you haven’t shown a fetus has a person greater than that fully human woman, she can abort at her convenience. Thank you for playing. You can go home now, fully defeated by your lies and bullshit.

  211. frowntown says

    @Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    That was shorthand for the *agreed upon and stipulated rights of the fetus.* Again… I don’t know how many times I can say that my argument is with those (many of whom are in this thread) who say that, even if the fetus is a person, then the bodily rights argument still applies.

    I’m not (currently) discussing whether the fetus is a person.

  212. anchor says

    Dismissive terms like “fuckwit” = automatic shutdown.

    Like “cupcake”, and a host of other uninteresting invectives designed to make a “point”.

    It helps nobody.

  213. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    even if the fetus is a person, then the bodily rights argument still applies.

    Except the fetus isn’t and never will be person. The woman’s bodily integrity wins. Thanks for playing….

  214. John Morales says

    NelC @26,

    Klusendorf: What if a woman gets pregnant solely in order to take a drug during pregnancy in order to have a deformed child.

    Wha…? Like, how is that a thing? It doesn’t even make sense on its own terms. “Get pregnant in order to take a drug during pregnancy”? I can’t process what’s going on in Not-a-Klu’s head to produce this phrase. Is it some twisted reference to thalidomide? He must know that that was a horrible accident, mustn’t he?

    Unfortunately, Münchausen syndrome by proxy is a thing.

  215. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m not (currently) discussing whether the fetus is a person.

    It isn’t and never will be. But you keep presupposing it is, being the liar, bullshitter and fuckwitted idjit you are.

  216. says

    Also, note that while Frowntown thinks that pregnancy are childbirth are safe enough (and evidently not painful enough) to force another sentient being to undertake those endeavors against their will, he has also implied that there are situations where the risk of death is high enough that it would not be ethical to force another person to take that risk. And yet, he cannot say what the cutoff is. How high is too high? He doesn’t know, but he is positive that it’s ethically OK to force women to undertake an action with a 12 in 100,000 chance of killing them.

    And we haven’t really talked about rape yet. According to Frowntown’s figures, about 5% of pregnancies are caused by non-consensual sex. According to him, getting an abortion in this case would be ethical, because the woman did not choose to risk pregnancy by engaging in consensual sex. This, of course, puts the lie to the idea that he is assuming that fetuses are persons, because obviously it’s not cool to kill the born children of rapists. Whether your father is a rapist or not should have no bearing on whether it’s okay to kill you, so why does it have any bearing on the morality of killing fetus-persons whose fathers are rapists? If fetuses are persons then consent is irrelevant, so I have to wonder why Frowntown thinks this is a sound argument. He’s basically saying the same thing all Forced-Birthers are saying: sluts get punished with pregnancy and childbirth. Nice girls have the option.

    Of course, if such beliefs were encoded into law, you’d then be forced with the difficulty of whether to require a conviction of rape before allowing abortion, or whether to take the chance that lying sluts might lie about having been raped just so they could “avoid the responsibility” that Frowntown thinks everyone should accept, i.e., that sex should always entail the risk not just of pregnancy but also of childbirth and probably parenthood.

  217. says

    Dismissive terms like “fuckwit” = automatic shutdown.

    Like “cupcake”, and a host of other uninteresting invectives designed to make a “point”.

    It helps nobody.

    Translation: I’m too stupid to parse content from style, so feel free to ignore me.

    You’re welcome.

  218. says

    Dianne:

    As for the Castle Doctrine, many (most?) statutes that enact it include a requirement that one “reasonably fear” the harm in question. This guards against the scenario where John invites Joe to his home and then, with no provocation, shoots him. This doesn’t quite mean you have to prove the person actually endangered you, but there need to be circumstances such that your fear is reasonable–e.g. a breaking and entering.

  219. NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase says

    I’m just going to say this.

    If you think a child is appropriate punishment for having sex, then fuck you.

    You know what sucks? Being an unwanted offspring.

  220. says

    As for the Castle Doctrine, many (most?) statutes that enact it include a requirement that one “reasonably fear” the harm in question. This guards against the scenario where John invites Joe to his home and then, with no provocation, shoots him. This doesn’t quite mean you have to prove the person actually endangered you, but there need to be circumstances such that your fear is reasonable–e.g. a breaking and entering.

    Except that that fear isn’t reasonable, even when there is breaking and entering – it’s absurdly rare for thieves to actually bring weapons, precisely because they know that can only elevate the charges. The law has decided it’s reasonable, but that doesn’t make it so in real world terms.

  221. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Frowntown:

    So when you said, “from the perspective of the fetus” you really meant, “from my philosophical perspective on the rights of personhood as attached by me to the fetus”?

    Cuz that doesn’t make sense at all.

    Wait – are YOU a fetus?

    I’m confused.

  222. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dismissive terms like “fuckwit” = automatic shutdown.

    Like “cupcake”, and a host of other uninteresting invectives designed to make a “point”.

    It helps nobody.

    I might agree with you had it been within, say, the first ten posts. Consider this; at what point does a troll become so obnoxious that the full vocabulary needs to be introduced. By the time I got into the argument with frowntown, it was wwwaaayyyy beyond that point by my reckoning….

  223. says

    Aaronbaker – Why can’t I declare any fetus I don’t want in my body to be breaking and entering? I engage in consensual sex quite regularly. Any resulting fetus would be uninvited. Why is it uninvited? Because I don’t want it there. The fact that I do sometimes want sex doesn’t change the fact that I don’t want a fetus inside me.

    What’s your point?

  224. Forbidden Snowflake says

    However, having a “whimsical” pregnancy is irresponsible and disrespectful to life and the subsequent “whimsical” abortion would be just as bad. To me at least.

    It is not “irresponsible”, in that it does not create consequences the person doing it can’t account for. “Disrespectful to life”? Perhaps, but your idea of respect for life is merely your personal form of spirituality.

    Its sort of similar to the fact I am ok eating meat and using leather, but I wouldn’t kill an animal on a whim.

    I’m not sure why you think there is a difference between the enjoyment of killing an animal and the enjoyment of wearing a cool leather jacket (or eating a steak) you don’t actually need.

    Maybe its inconsistent that I am an atheist but I consider life sacred in a sense.

    Perhaps more “self-serving and selectively applied” than “inconsistent”.

    I protect that sacredness of life by insisting that the creation and destruction of life is thoughtful. It doesn’t mean that life always wins because there are many other sides to consider (like the needs of other living things, aware beings, and persons), but I do have to think about it and justify its destruction before I do it.

    I’m sure that student put a lot of thought into her art project.

  225. says

    SallyStrange

    It’s really too bad that embryos can’t survive without access to a functioning uterus,

    Although even if there was such a thing as an artificial uterus, that would in no way morally constrain anyone to place any given embryo into one and bring it to term, regardless of how there came to be an embryo.

    frowntown

    then you are not even trying to reply to the point I am making.

    That’s because you haven’t made one. Your supposed point consists of nothing more than your assumptions, which are demonstrably incorrect, and therefore not worth much of a reply, especially when you have demonstrated your willingness to ignore explanations of how and why you’re wrong.

    anchor
    Fuck off with your tone-trolling, cupcake.

  226. frowntown says

    @abunchofyouangry

    If your statement includes a “fuck you”, nonstop assumptions about my motives, etc, re-write it, IF you want a response, and I’ll consider replying to your comment, assuming it’s less inane. If you just want to babble screed about how much of a penisy penising penis I have, feel free. Just don’t expect a response.

    Also, if you fail to read the comments above, I might fail to answer (at least any time soon), as I am repeating myself over and over again.

    @Forbidden Snowflake

    Thanks again for the calm, rational correspondence.

    We are definitely suffering a miscommunication, yes. Let me try again (still leaving aside what I believe are the *relatively* less important, but potentially vital, differences.)

    The man in your analogy knowingly took an action that contributed 50% to the needy and endangered state he is being asked to resolve, against his will. The woman, the one left in the needy and endangered state, similarly freely chose an action that contributed 50% to the needy and endangered state she finds herself in. She is now asking that someone else fix the circumstance that she is 50% responsible for finding herself in. In other words, she consented to the possibility of this result, as much as he did.

    This is disanalogous to pregnancy, where the woman knowingly took an action that contributed 50% to the needy and endangered state that the fetus finds himself in, *but the fetus is not even 1% responsible for the needy and endangered state he finds himself in.* He took *no freely chosen actios* that resulted in his state. The mother did. If there was a way to share the burden with the father (e.g., as there is after birth), then he should help to shoulder it. But reality is reality, and all he can do (given our current technology) is provide financial support for her in the meantime.

    In one case, the life we are seeking to save via legal action is equally responsible for the state they find themselves in. In the other, the person who wants to kill the life we are considering saving through legal action is 50% responsible for the state the fetus finds itself in, and the fetus is not responsible for it at all.

    See the difference?

  227. Forbidden Snowflake says

    So when you said, “from the perspective of the fetus” you really meant, “from my philosophical perspective on the rights of personhood as attached by me to the fetus”?

    “From my perspective as projected onto the fetus”

  228. NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase says

    Hey frowntown.

    If I had the option to turn back time and give my mother some advice, I’d would have asked her to abort me.

  229. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just don’t expect a response.

    Why would we want a response from a fuckwitted presuppositional idjit? We don’t. We expect you to shut the fuck up, as losers should when refuted soundly.

    but the fetus is not even 1% responsible

    The fetus in utterly and totally irrelevant to a cogent and ration discussion, which focuses solely on the woman and her bodily integrity. What part of that don’t you comprehend….????

    See the difference?

    No, I SEE A FUCKWITTED AND RELIGIOUS BIGOT TRYING TO IMPOSE THEIR RELIGION UPON OTHER PEOPLE, WHO ARE FULLY HUMAN.
    See the difference loser?

  230. frowntown says

    @Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Nope. I meant “bearing in mind the fact that fetuses deserve equal protection *given the claims of those I was responding to, that the bodily rights argument applies even assuming that the fetus has personhood.*

    In other words, I don’t expect these specific words to convince you *unless you agree that the bodily rights argument applies even if the fetus has personhood.* This is not a position I made up. It is one that was *repeatedly and explicitly* made earlier in the thread, by several people, some of whom when on to defend their position at length.

    Later, I was accused of being delusional for assuming that such people exist.

    And then, being “presuppositional.”

    BUT I AM ARGUING ACCORDING TO MY INTERLOCUTOR’S OWN PREMISES. It’s no surprise that you (and others) don’t agree if you reject those premises.

    I will set up this tag so I can tell others to #lookhereforexplanationregardingfetalpersonhood so that I can stop repeating myself over and over again.

    The conversation I describe is still ongoing with a couple people. I’m interested in continuing it. I’m not particularly interested *at this exact moment* in starting a whole new conversation regarding whether fetuses are persons, as my interlocutors were willing to grant for the sake of *this* discussion.

  231. says

    Thanks again for the calm, rational correspondence.

    Please tell me you’re not so idiotic as to think that anger and rationality are mutually exclusive.

  232. says

    BUT I AM ARGUING ACCORDING TO MY INTERLOCUTOR’S OWN PREMISES.

    Ooooh, all caps! That usually denotes anger, or at least frustration. Does that mean we can safely dismiss you as being irrational now?

    Also, note that I’ve been engaging with that argument, using the premise, so stop complaining. Some people don’t want to grant what they don’t see as true. Big whoop. Deal with it. If you don’t want to engage with them, then don’t.

  233. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    BUT I AM ARGUING ACCORDING TO MY INTERLOCUTOR’S OWN PREMISES. It’s no surprise that you (and others) don’t agree if you reject those premises.

    You are only arguing according your own presuppositions. PZ doesn’t have them. He told you so. So all you have is your religiously bigotry at the end of the day. And you give absolutely no reasons why anything you say should be considered other than religious bigotry, which it is. You might have irrationally thought you had an in, by you never did.

  234. GrouperFish says

    Socio-gen #212

    I understand what you are saying.

    But can we agree that there are people that seem to treat decisions concerning life (in non-abortion instances) thoughtlessly? And that there can be a discussion about whether that is moral or not?

    But also, your comment sort of supports what I’m saying. Imagine one could get an abortion and it wouldn’t involve doctors, time, medicine, and pain. Is it still ok to just thoughtlessly get pregnant and thoughtlessly abort? Maybe not. I think its possible that a lot of people would agree with the idea that thoughtless pregnancy and abortion is not ok. The fact that “whimsical” abortions are a non-issue could be evidence for the fact that this kind of thinking is extremely prevalent. That would could mean that although whimsical abortions are a non-reality, they might be a common thought experiment that many people conduct and this leads them to reject whimsical abortions as morally unsound. This might be an important part of people’s decision to use birth control. It is for me. I don’t want to create a life I don’t want.

    An embryo is more than just a chunk of meat (a chunk of meat implies it is already dead). The embryo is alive and we treat living things with consideration for their life. In my opinion, a woman may end a pregnancy for any number of reasons, and she doesn’t need to justify those reasons to anyone (I absolutely do not support any legislation geared toward educating women about abortion, waiting periods, or any of that BS), but it seems morally wrong to me to make such a decision thoughtlessly. I trust every woman to do this for herself.

    Some will disagree. That’s cool. It’s really more of a philosophical exercise because my attitude has no repercussions on the types of laws I like to see: Pro-Choice.

  235. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I will set up this tag so I can tell others to #lookhereforexplanationregardingfetalpersonhood so that I can stop repeating myself over and over again.

    Who give a shit about your inane OPINIONS? So don’t expect any business. Your mind is made up. Why bother, if you aren’t willing to learn….

  236. Forbidden Snowflake says

    The man in your analogy knowingly took an action that contributed 50% to the needy and endangered state he is being asked to resolve, against his will. The woman, the one left in the needy and endangered state, similarly freely chose an action that contributed 50% to the needy and endangered state she finds herself in. She is now asking that someone else fix the circumstance that she is 50% responsible for finding herself in. In other words, she consented to the possibility of this result, as much as he did.

    Here’s what you’re missing: when the woman is having pregnancy complications, that means the fetus is also in a needy and endangered state, which it didn’t consent to or cause*. Does the man who has shared responsibility for the fetus’s situation have to sacrifice his medical autonomy to preserve its life?

    *Funny how your moral intuition was to focus on the danger to the woman and never mind about the fetus

  237. mesh says

    frowntown, your introduction of the responsibility for sex is entirely ad hoc as it bears no relevance to the issue of rights in the case of pregnancy. Why would having sex exempt one of their rights to the point where the rights of a fetus would automatically supersede those of a woman? In your case not only have you denied a woman their rights on the arbitrary basis of keeping a fetus from “being punished”, but you’ve introduced an additional right that no other person has – the right to inhabit another’s body – again, without basis. Thus far all you’ve done is insist that rights should only be afforded to those “innocent” of conception, but one could just as easily assert that rights should only be afforded to those “innocent” of occupying one’s body, except the former case requires arguing an additional right which no human is currently afforded.

    If you’re going to contend that recklessness in itself alienates one’s own inalienable rights you’re going to need to make an argument for it.

  238. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The embryo is alive

    This is religious fuzzy think. While alive, it isn’t and won’t be human for a while. Which is the fuzzy thinking they promote. Why are you? Nothing moral or immoral about such decisions.

  239. says

    GrouperFish

    Is it still ok to just thoughtlessly get pregnant and thoughtlessly abort?

    Yes, why wouldn’t it be?

    The embryo is alive and we treat living things with consideration for their life

    .

    Only a subset of living things, actually; it’s no more sapient than a rutabaga, and I haven’t got any consideration for the lives of rutabagas except insofar as someone’s deliberately trying to grow some, and then only because of the effect on the person who wanted rutabagas.

  240. dianne says

    Re pregnancy morbidity: I don’t immediately know a good source. The CDC should have it, but I couldn’t find anything on pregnancy morbidity after a brief search of their web site.

  241. frowntown says

    “You are only arguing according your own presuppositions. PZ doesn’t have them. He told you so. ”

    You are so obviously trolling now that it’s hilarious. Once again I will literally prove for you that you are wrong. Here are all the people who said that they believe that the bodily rights argument applies even assuming that fetuses have personhood:

    “d. NOBODY HERE ACCEPTS THAT A FETUS IS AN UNBORN HUMAN FOR EVEN DISCUSSION PURPOSES. ”

    LOL.

    13

    “The point is that as a society we have agreed that nobody is to use somebody else’s body without permision. Doesn’t matter if fertilized eggs get personhood (but it would make a mess of population statistics).”

    57

    What people are generally saying is that this is not even relevant, because it’s an issue of autonomy anyway:

    60

    Here’s a much better one: the woman’s bodily autonomy. Newsflash: it does not matter how sentient a fetus is, because it is inside another living person who also has personhood rights.

    78

    The crucial point is that even if embryos were persons that still would not change the outcome. The right to bodily autonomy is not abrogated by the presence of another person.

    You are just lying, purposely and repeatedly now, because, as you said, you want me to STFU. It’s getting pathetic. I already pointed to all of the people who said exactly what I claimed, when you previously accuse me of being delusional.

    It’s right there in black or white.

    So either you are yourself delusional, or lying. I hope for your sake that it’s the latter.

  242. Feats of Cats says

    I consent to sex. I do not consent to pregnancy. It is not only possible, but realistic to consent to one but not the other.

    Seriously, is someone who never wants kids supposed to never have sex? Is that your argument? Sex is a healthy and loving way that people bond, even people who actively choose not to have children.

  243. jodyp says

    Only a subset of living things, actually; it’s no more sapient than a rutabaga, and I haven’t got any consideration for the lives of rutabagas except insofar as someone’s deliberately trying to grow some, and then only because of the effect on the person who wanted rutabagas.

    Bullseye. It isn’t a person. It’s a lump of cells. The woman carrying it IS a person tho, and it’s her choice to do with it as she pleases. Period.

  244. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    NOBODY HERE ACCEPTS THAT A FETUS IS AN UNBORN HUMAN FOR EVEN DISCUSSION PURPOSES. ”

    And you proved me wrong how? Not by what PZ said. Just your own religious bigotry.

  245. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I already pointed to all of the people who said exactly what I claimed, when you previously accuse me of being delusional.

    You are. Women aren’t fully human with complete and utter bodily integrity. If they have that, there is no argument that abortion should be legal until the birth process has started, and the fetus, that imaginary person, comes nowhere into play.

  246. ck says

    NelC (#26) wrote:

    Klusendorf: What if a woman gets pregnant solely in order to take a drug during pregnancy in order to have a deformed child.

    Wha…? Like, how is that a thing? It doesn’t even make sense on its own terms.

    I assume it’s a riff on the idea of welfare mothers having more children to collect ever greater amounts of that sweet government lucre. If a “normal” child is worth $X, then a “deformed” child must be worth lots more! You know how those welfare queens are, with their welfare Cadillacs.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to wash this puke out of my mouth.

  247. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gack, offering to tpyos, …#262…that abortion shouldn’t be legal….

  248. says

    Dianne

    Re pregnancy morbidity: I don’t immediately know a good source.

    The best one I’ve found is here, which if I’m not drastically misreading it appears to indicate that the morbidity rate is 94.1%.

    frowntown
    Try addressing people by name, too. Especially when you’re replying to multiple people at once.

  249. says

    Sally Strange wrote:

    Aaronbaker – Why can’t I declare any fetus I don’t want in my body to be breaking and entering? I engage in consensual sex quite regularly. Any resulting fetus would be uninvited. Why is it uninvited? Because I don’t want it there.

    Why? How about: because it has no criminal intent? Or because the “reasonableness” required by the Castle Doctrine is problematic, as one poster above suggested? And: what need for another shaky analogy?

    As to my point: I thought it was obvious: I think pro-choice stands just fine without this kind of argument, which, in my opinion, opens one up to completely avoidable objections.

  250. Feats of Cats says

    Frowntown, all your arguments seem to boil down to “the women consented to sex therefore are obligated to carry any resulting pregnancy to term”. Are you saying that women who absolutely don’t ever want children shouldn’t have sex? If so, would you say the same thing about women in relationships? Married women? In that case the men in the relationships wouldn’t be having any sex either. Presumably that wouldn’t bother you either?

  251. Socio-gen, something something... says

    GrouperFish @ 249:

    I’m going to take a guess that pregnancy is unlikely to happen to you. It’s not something you yourself will ever have to face, just something to think about and ponder. Correct?

    Imagine one could get an abortion and it wouldn’t involve doctors, time, medicine, and pain. Is it still ok to just thoughtlessly get pregnant and thoughtlessly abort?

    If I understand correctly, you’re saying “What if abortion was as easy to get and as easy to experience as a manicure, would it be okay to treat it like a manicure?”

    As if it was remotely possible for such a thing to happen, but yes, I’d be okay with that. Because it would mean we’d reached a stage where we didn’t fetishize fetuses and motherhood.

    True facts: I have Addison’s Disease. I got pregnant at age 42, after 22 years of corticosteroid use.

    You know what my first question to my gynecologist was when she gave me the results of the pregnancy test, “Can you write a script for the medication abortion, or do I have to go somewhere else?” Seriously. Not one fucking thought about it. You know why? Because I have a 1:50 chance of kidney failure before the 3rd trimester. A 1:20 chance of dying during delivery (which would have to be a c-section because natural labor gives me a 100% chance of death). But more importantly: because I have 3 adult children and zero interest in being pregnant or raising another child.

    The embryo is alive and we treat living things with consideration for their life.

    I have a houseplant that’s alive too. I don’t really take its feelings into consideration when I make decisions about my life.

    Some will disagree. That’s cool. It’s really more of a philosophical exercise…

    Called it.

    FUCK YOU. This is not some fun little what-if game, this is my fucking life we’re talking about. My right to decide what is best for me.

  252. procrastinatorordinaire says

    My opinion on this matter is that a baby is what you get when the human reproductive cycle is carried to a successful conclusion. If the cycle is interrupted at an early stage, for whatever reason, the outcome for any potential baby is the same, i.e. no baby.

    If a woman finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy, she should be as free to interrupt her reproductive cycle as those who chose to interrupt the cycle by abstaining from sex or by using contraceptives.

  253. frowntown says

    Forbidden Snowflake,

    I now see why I misunderstood your question. I was focusing directly on the woman’s endangered state, because I thought you were making an analogy rather than asking me to reason about the fetus’s needy and endangered state.

    So here, then, we start to get getting into the other issues, about whether a responsible person would foresee such circumstances, organ donation vs blood transfusion, killing vs disconnecting (which does matter for the thousands of fetuses killed post-20 weeks each year in our country), etc.

    I’ll state some conditions under which I would want the law to force him to “connect.” If 1) there is no other way to save the fetus’s life, 2) if these conditions were common and therefor reasonably foreseen, and 3) if it is blood transfusion (rather than an organ donation), then yes, I think he should be forcibly connected.

    I *think* even (2) alone would be sufficient. If you and your partner are about to engage in an act that you both know might endanger your partner’s life, and so also the innocent life of your offspring, then you should be forced to do what is normally required to sustain your child, until such a time as a second guardian can be found. This is all the more so if it is not *likely* to threaten your life (e.g., if these kidney transplants and their aftermath killed only 30 in 100,000 donors+). Surely, I don’t think the father should be allowed to kill the mother or the infant, in an attempt to escape “enslavement” via child support for 18 ears.

    To make things perhaps more clear, if there was a way to surgically implant the fetus into the father, and have him sustain it over time, and if such was often necessary due, e.g., to sex regularly killing the father’s partner, than I think he should have to provide nutrition and sustenance for the fetus (assuming that the fetus is a person, that is), even if that means putting him in, e.g., a repurposed appendix, *assuming all could be done with negative effects similar to those in a regular pregnancy.*

    Do you think a woman should be forced to care for a newborn, against her will (e.g., in the snowstorm), if doing so would require painful and prolonged access to the use of her organs (e.g., if they had mastitis?) What if doing so *might*, say, 1.5 in 10,000 times, cause a deadly infection? Should she be allowed to let her newborn starve to death (or “mercifully” slit its throat?)

    Do you think men should be forced to pay child support, to be “enslaved” to the well-being of their children, for 18 years, when they never “consented” to pregnancy or to parenthood?

    (+BTW, LOL at the person who compared our maternal mortality rate to that in Afghanistan :-P As if lack of abortion “doctors” is the primary difference. Why not compare to Chile, where abortion is largely illegal and the maternal death rate is 25 in 100,000, and the maternal death rate did not rise after they passed their abortion laws? I don’t think there is as a direct connection as many think, especially those who forget to consider the advancements in medicine over the last few decades.)

  254. frowntown says

    @Nerd of Redhead

    “And you proved me wrong how? Not by what PZ said. Just your own religious bigotry.”

    o_O

    No, not by quoting PZ. By *repeatedly* pointing to all the people who DID make the exact statements I said they made. Let me try again. Note, these are not quotes of myself. These are statements other folks here made, while still claiming that bodily rights arguments apply.

    “d. NOBODY HERE ACCEPTS THAT A FETUS IS AN UNBORN HUMAN FOR EVEN DISCUSSION PURPOSES. ”

    LOL.

    13

    “The point is that as a society we have agreed that nobody is to use somebody else’s body without permision. Doesn’t matter if fertilized eggs get personhood (but it would make a mess of population statistics).”

    57

    “What people are generally saying is that this [personhood] is not even relevant, because it’s an issue of autonomy anyway:”

    60

    “Here’s a much better one: the woman’s bodily autonomy. Newsflash: it does not matter how sentient a fetus is, because it is inside another living person who also has personhood rights.”

    78

    “The crucial point is that even if embryos were persons that still would not change the outcome. The right to bodily autonomy is not abrogated by the presence of another person”

    See those numbers? Those are comment identifiers that other pro legalized abortion folks made in this very thread.

    It’s becoming difficult to tell the difference between your purposely trollish and not so obviously trollish posts.

    Let me ask you this very simple question: do you understand and acknowledge that I have now quoted several people who stipulated that a bodily rights argument applies even if one assumes the personhood of the fetus?

    Perhaps you were too angry to notice that I quoted them repeatedly. By now, I’m assuming you understand.

  255. ck says

    We don’t even give born children full person-hood rights. Even adults under the age of 21 (in the U.S. and 19-20 in many other places) and ex-felons don’t get full rights. Theoretical babies aren’t even on my radar for person rights, with so many other living, breathing human beings suffering from a severe lack of person rights.

    So long as James Dobson, and Michael and Debi Pearl are permitted to walk free despite their strong advocacy of child abuse, I’ll assume that this “personhood for embryos” bullshit isn’t worth the electrons it’s being printed/displayed with. If you cared about person rights, then the fact people are torturing (and sometimes killing) their own children under the guise of discipline should be a crisis beyond anything else.

  256. says

    Why? How about: because it has no criminal intent?

    It doesn’t have any intent at all. It’s not conscious. It’s not sentient. It’s not a person.

    Or because the “reasonableness” required by the Castle Doctrine is problematic, as one poster above suggested?

    My impression was that they were suggesting that it’s applied more unreasonably in real life than it would have been in the hypothetical that was proposed, to wit: regarding pregnancy as dangerous to your life and health would be more rational than regarding a person burgling your house as dangerous to your life and health.

    And: what need for another shaky analogy?

    It doesn’t seem all THAT shaky to me. Do you and analogies have some sort of personal history the rest of us aren’t aware of?

  257. Arawhon says

    Apparently, forcing men to care for any children that are forced on women is just oh so terrible and a blight on humanity according to frowntown. He also doesn’t want these men to suffer any actual hardship for a developing fetus. Just like the highly religious asshats and MRAs he has bought wholesale into the idea that the women are the only ones who should have to bear the burden of pregnancy and that society is obligated abrogate the rights of women as soon as a fetus is present within her. frowntown lied when he said he supports full rights for women, he actually thinks they should be second class citizens just barely above slaves.

  258. skmc says

    Re: the factually flawed claim that criminalization of abortion in Chile has not increased deaths among pregnant women. The oft-cited study by Koch and Thorp is biased and their methods flawed (for starters, they simply ignore illegal abortion and the resulting deaths therefrom). Koch and Thorp are staunchly anti-choice; here is a PDF from the Guttmacher Institute addressing this problematical study.

  259. frowntown says

    “Frowntown, all your arguments seem to boil down to “the women consented to sex therefore are obligated to carry any resulting pregnancy to term”.”

    That is indeed the conclusion of the argument I am making, yes.

    “Are you saying that women who absolutely don’t ever want children shouldn’t have sex?”

    That they either shouldn’t have intercourse (which leaves other methods *far, far less likely to cause pregnancy*), OR should be willing to deal with the consequences, *assuming fetuses are persons, and thus have rights equal to any other person (like a newborn,)*

    This is until such a time as either contraception is 100% effective, or at least until contraception failing to work is equivalent to what we’d normally think of as “freak accidents” or “random chance.” We’re not there yet, at least for most of the reversible methods.

    People seem to be operating under the illusion that the vast majority of women who end up pregnant and seek an abortion, have been properly and consistently using contraception. But only 54% even of women had used contraception the month they became pregnant. Of those “76% of pill users and 49% of condom users report having used their method inconsistently” o_O Is anyone surprised that so many of them become pregnant. A good start would be to have the most responsible sex possible, using contraception consistently if one wants to avoid the consequences of pregnancy.

    ” If so, would you say the same thing about women in relationships?”
    Of course!

    ” Married women?”
    Of course!

    ” In that case the men in the relationships wouldn’t be having any sex either. ”
    Obviously.

    “Presumably that wouldn’t bother you either?”

    It “bothers me” that I have to go to work every day. That doesn’t mean I’m willing to kill someone and take their money, to avoid the inconvenience of having to work. So yes, it bothers me that I cannot have sex without any regard to the consequences, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to kill my offspring to avoid these circumstances.

  260. says

    My impression was that they were suggesting that it’s applied more unreasonably in real life than it would have been in the hypothetical that was proposed, to wit: regarding pregnancy as dangerous to your life and health would be more rational than regarding a person burgling your house as dangerous to your life and health.

    That point I’d have to concede.

    My point about “breaking and entering” was just that it’s legal jargon with a whole package of meanings that aren’t really a propos here–though the contrast you state in the paragraph I’ve quoted from you makes perfect sense.

    I think analogies often disguise flabby thinking–that’s my quarrel with them. The teleological argument, and Hume’s dissection of it, are the best illustration I’ve seen yet on that score.

  261. frowntown says

    “Apparently, forcing men to care for any children that are forced on women is just oh so terrible and a blight on humanity according to frowntown. He also doesn’t want these men to suffer any actual hardship for a developing fetus. Just like the highly religious asshats and MRAs he has bought wholesale into the idea that the women are the only ones who should have to bear the burden of pregnancy and that society is obligated abrogate the rights of women as soon as a fetus is present within her. frowntown lied when he said he supports full rights for women, he actually thinks they should be second class citizens just barely above slaves.”

    What on earth are you talking about? I am 100% in favor of forcing men to take care of the children they create!!

    If I asked others about it, I was pointing out the lapse in *their* reasoning. They think it’s terrible to force a pregnant mother to provide nourishment and shelter to her offspring, against her will, but think that *obviously* men should be forced to provide care for offspring they don’t want. I was merely pointing out the inconsistency.

    In fact, I said so *multiple times* explcitly throughout this conversation o_O

  262. says

    Dianne 167:

    Not to mention that pregnancy quite often results in permanent damage to one or more organs.

    Ooo, me! Me! Pick me!

    7 months postpartum, I spent a week in the hospital for emergency gall bladder surgery. The pain was worse than ANYTHING I’ve ever experienced (including, you know, childbirth)– narcotics wouldn’t even put a dent in what I was feeling. My gall bladder attack was directly related to my pregnancy and now I am down one organ.

    Honestly, I got off lucky.

  263. raven says

    Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Nov;120(5):1029-36. doi: http://10.1097/AOG.0b013e31826d60c5.

    Severe maternal morbidity among delivery and postpartum hospitalizations in the United States.

    Callaghan WM, Creanga AA, Kuklina EV.

    Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA. WCallaghan@cdc.gov
    OBJECTIVES:

    To propose a new standard for monitoring severe maternal morbidity, update previous estimates of severe maternal morbidity during both delivery and postpartum hospitalizations, and estimate trends in these events in the United States between 1998 and 2009.

    METHODS:

    Delivery and postpartum hospitalizations were identified in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample for the period 1998-2009. International Classification of Diseases, 9 Revision codes indicating severe complications were used to identify hospitalizations with severe maternal morbidity and related in-hospital mortality. Trends were reported using 2-year increments of data.

    RESULTS:

    Severe morbidity rates for delivery and postpartum hospitalizations for the 2008-2009 period were 129 and 29, respectively, for every 10,000 delivery hospitalizations.

    Compared with the 1998-1999 period, severe maternal morbidity increased by 75% and 114% for delivery and postpartum hospitalizations, respectively. We found increasing rates of blood transfusion, acute renal failure, shock, acute myocardial infarction, respiratory distress syndrome, aneurysms, and cardiac surgery during delivery hospitalizations. Moreover, during the study period, rates of postpartum hospitalization with 13 of the 25 severe complications examined more than doubled, and the overall mortality during postpartum hospitalizations increased by 66% (P<.05).

    CONCLUSIONS:

    Severe maternal morbidity currently affects approximately 52,000 women during their delivery hospitalizations and, based on current trends, this burden is expected to increase. Clinical review of identified cases of severe maternal morbidity can provide an opportunity to identify points of intervention for quality improvement in maternal care.

    1. I skipped the forced birther/female slaver god babble. It’s nothing I haven’t heard since 1970 and a waste of my valuable remaining lifespan.

    2. But a poster (socio-gen) about a hundred posts ago did ask an intelligent question. How many pregnant women show permanent damage of one sort or another, i.e. long term morbidity.

    3. There is an answer of sorts. Severe Maternal Morbidity for delivery plus postpartum is 1.58% in the USA.

    Severe morbidity rates for delivery and postpartum hospitalizations for the 2008-2009 period were 129 and 29, respectively, for every 10,000 delivery hospitalizations.

    4. This doesn’t quite answer the question but it is as close as I could get in 10 minutes. This is for delivery and post-delivery only, not counting pregnancy related morbidity. So it is an undercount.

    It also doesn’t say how much of that morbidity results in long term or permanent damage. Some will, some won’t.

    At any rate, the number of women with long term damage from pregnancy is going to be far higher than just the ones that die.

  264. frowntown says

    Yeah I know… the “pick your study” game. As if the guttmacher institute isn’t known to be “anti-fetus” :-P

    http://tinyurl.com/chilereply (It’s a .doc response from the authors.)

    In any event, my main point was to address the laughable absurdity of comparing Afghanistan’s mortality rates to those in the US. What a joke.

  265. anteprepro says

    Frowntown, all your arguments seem to boil down to “the women consented to sex therefore are obligated to carry any resulting pregnancy to term”.

    That is indeed the conclusion of the argument I am making, yes….

    it bothers me that I cannot have sex without any regard to the consequences, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to kill my offspring to avoid these circumstances.

    Is there anything left to do but just point and laugh?

  266. procrastinatorordinaire says

    they either shouldn’t have intercourse (which leaves other methods *far, far less likely to cause pregnancy*)

    And what consequences does this behaviour have “when considered from the perspective of the foetus”? What’s a poor foetus to do if its parents won’t even have sex in the first place?

  267. NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase says

    frowntown

    Here’s a thing: You’re using the kids to punish the parents; this does not generally lead to good parenting or happy kids.

    So fuck you.

  268. says

    frowntown

    That is indeed the conclusion of the argument I am making, yes.

    And that is why people are describing you as a controlling misogynist, which you have demonstrated yourself to be. You are also anti-sex in general, which doesn’t help you avoid coming off as an asshole. Tell, me how long is it before you start blithering about immortal souls, jesus and the bible?

  269. raven says

    BTW, for the christofascist morons, 1.58% is a huge number. It’s 1 out of 63 women.

    The severe maternal morbidity rate for men is also known. It is…zero.

  270. Arawhon says

    So either you’re a muddled thinker and have compartmentalized these things or your lying. Your arguments say women should be second class citizens and that fetuses have more rights then them. And yet you say you think women should have equal rights to men. So which is it? Abortion or slavery to fetuses.

  271. anteprepro says

    They think it’s terrible to force a pregnant mother to provide nourishment and shelter to her offspring, against her will, but think that *obviously* men should be forced to provide care for offspring they don’t want.

    Yes. “Provide nourishment and shelter”. That brilliantly elides the fact that this “shelter” happens to be the mother’s own fucking body . We are all thoroughly baffled by your word games and now entirely agree that we should never cause harm to those beautiful Preborn, Prebrained Prebabies, even if it means terrible consequences to the mother and/or the born, brained babies, because that’s what the mother gets for daring to have sex in the vagina area, like some sort of reckless barbarian.

  272. jodyp says

    BTW, for the christofascist morons, 1.58% is a huge number. It’s 1 out of 63 women.

    This sort of bears repeating. Anyone that chooses to dismiss this number in their defense of forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term is not “pro-life”.

    The more accurate term is “arrogant, sadistic shithead”.

  273. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    , I was pointing out the lapse in *their* reasoning.

    There is a lapse in your reasonsing. You are fuckwitted idjit without anything cogent to say on the topic of abortion, but you say it anyway. WHY?

  274. anteprepro says

    Shorter Fetus Rights Zealot: “Every zygote is sacred!”

    Speaking of logical inconsistencies: Anybody wanna ask frowntown what his position is on Plan-B?

  275. frowntown says

    @”Feats of Cats”

    I answered your other questions in 277.

    Regarding consenting to sex, but not pregnancy, imagine a box in a cave, deep within a forest, several days walk from the edge. There is a button on it. Its functionality is clearly labeled. When a woman presses the button, 99 out of 100 times it will generate an orgasm and a feeling of well being in the button pusher. 1 out of 100 times, it also generates a fully formed newborn infant. Now, even if the woman didn’t *want* or *intend* to generate the infant, the knowledge that they might be generating an infant puts the responsibility for the infant’s well being on them. To deprive that child of its *only* means of survival is clearly wrong, and I believe that we would, and should, punish folks who walk away from the newborn, leaving it to starve. All this, despite their “not intending” to create an infant.

    What do you think? Should she be allowed to walk away, without fear of retribution, and simply explain to anyone who found the corpse “meh, I consented to pushing the button, not the infant that popped out.”

    The whole thing also strikes me as similar to “I consented to drinking to the point of intoxication, and then pressing down hard with my leg. I didn’t consent to an accident… ergo, I am wholly immune from any harmful effects that I caused!” Obviously, it’s not quite the same. I’m just trying to illustrate the difference between consenting to some effect, and being responsible for some effect.

    I recognize that this situation sucks, a lot. I really wish there was a reversible way to have sex without having to worry at all about generating offspring. But there isn’t (at least as far as I know.)

    Like I said earlier, a good start would be that 100% of sexually active folks use contraception of some kind, and use it consistently. Since it seems that only a minority of couples that end up seeking abortion are in that camp (only 54% used contraception, and of those, only 24% – 51% used it consistently the month they became pregnant.)

  276. consciousness razor says

    That they either shouldn’t have intercourse (which leaves other methods *far, far less likely to cause pregnancy*), OR should be willing to deal with the consequences, *assuming fetuses are persons, and thus have rights equal to any other person (like a newborn,)*

    But having sex while using contraception is far less likely to result in pregnancy than having sex without it. That is obviously much of the reason why people use it. So if it fails, is there any coherent sense in which they are “not responsible” for the pregnancy, thus the woman shouldn’t be forced to give birth? (I say the woman, because I’m leaving aside your sci-fi scenarios where men do have to make the same choice.) You can’t very well say that was “freely chosen,” if in fact they deliberately tried to prevent it from happening.

    And it still isn’t clear what moral relevance you think a fetus has. Why exactly is abortion a problem, according to you?

  277. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The problem with frowntown, and why xe is being laughed at, is simple. If a woman has complete and utter bodily autonomy, any abortion up to the start of labor is no problem, her choice.

    If for some reason, you see this phantasm called a fetus as being more of a person/human than her, and must be carried to term, you ignore point one, utter and total bodily autonomy. You must make up your mind, and go one way or the other, or be shown, as you have, to be a fuckwitted presuppostitional liar and bullshitter, but you can’t recognize that due to your own prejudices….

    What is your excuse frowntown. Be honest for a change. We might even smile….

  278. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I answered your other questions in 277.

    You don’t answer questions, you handwave vigorously to show you have no answer. And you haven’t all day. You only pretend you do. Prima facie evidence you lie and bullshit.

    Regarding consenting to sex, but not pregnancy,

    Hypothetical and irrelevant bullshit beyond that intro. BwahaHAHAHAHAHA. What a sophist fuckwit.

  279. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Should she be allowed to walk away, without fear of retribution, and simply explain to anyone who found the corpse “meh, I consented to pushing the button, not the infant that popped out.”

    What infant? Show a live birth resulted, or acknowledge you ARE a liar and bullshitter. That is reality. Not your delusional version of it….

  280. Arawhon says

    Consciousness razor, I bet it will be some variant along the lines of “pwecious babies are totes important”. In other words some rationalization about their “protect the babies” instinct. Its pretty much been the main subtle undercurrent to frowntown’s arguments

  281. anteprepro says

    Its functionality is clearly labeled. When a woman presses the button, 99 out of 100 times it will generate an orgasm and a feeling of well being in the button pusher. 1 out of 100 times, it also generates a fully formed newborn infant….hould she be allowed to walk away, without fear of retribution, and simply explain to anyone who found the corpse “meh, I consented to pushing the button, not the infant that popped out.”

    And you wonder why people think you are minimizing the man’s role in this?

  282. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The whole thing also strikes me as similar

    Why should we care what a proven liar and bullhsitter has to say? We don’t. Take your opinions on the road.

    Like I said earlier, a good start would be that 100% of sexually active folks use contraception of some kind,

    Now, show us conclusive evidence the anti-choice fuckwits aren’t the same folks attempting to limit access to birth control…Or shut the fuck up about that….

  283. I've got the WTF blues says

    +BTW, LOL at the person who compared our maternal mortality rate to that in Afghanistan :-P As if lack of abortion “doctors” is the primary difference. Why not compare to Chile, where abortion is largely illegal and the maternal death rate is 25 in 100,000, and the maternal death rate did not rise after they passed their abortion laws? I don’t think there is as a direct connection as many think, especially those who forget to consider the advancements in medicine over the last few decades.)

    First of all, it was not a comparison. Try reading for comprehension instead of to niggle out bits and pieces to argue with.

    Second, you don’t think the abrogation of female autonomy leads to higher maternal morbidity and mortality? Are you seriously going to argue that women do better if the menz just manage their reproduction for them?

    BTW, kudos on exposing yourself as a reading of “Lifenews.” They’re just terrific at drawing bad conclusions from data. But you might want to take a gander at the original source they cherry picked because the underlying theme, if you will, is improvements in MF medicine to bridge the gap caused by income/social disparity. Not “proof” that banning abortion improves MMR:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2696659/

    And don’t think we didn’t notice how you fetishized fascism. I am almost 100% convinced you are a catholic troll.

    Finally – I will flat out state that *even if a fetus were a person entitled to equal rights* those right never include, for anyone, the right to use of another’s body. However, equal rights do afford an individual, yes, even a mere woman who (*clutches pearls*) had SEX, the right to repell, even should that evince a substantial risk of injury and/or death, someone who trespasses upon their person.

    What you have been arguing sounds a great deal like rape apology (funny how they seem to go together) “she did X so she was asking for Y to happen to her”

  284. procrastinatorordinaire says

    @frowntown

    Regarding consenting to sex, but not pregnancy, imagine a box in a cave, deep within a forest, several days walk from the edge. There is a button on it. Its functionality is clearly labeled. When a woman presses the button, 99 out of 100 times it will generate an orgasm and a feeling of well being in the button pusher. 1 out of 100 times, it also generates a fully formed newborn infant.

    But having sex does not produce a fully formed newborn infant, it just allows the human reproductive cycle to proceed along its course. Interrupting the cycle before or after conception has no consequences for a fully formed newborn infant as that infant was only ever potential.

  285. alwayscurious says

    There is a button on it. Its functionality is clearly labeled. When a woman presses the button, 99 out of 100 times it will generate an orgasm and a feeling of well being in the button pusher. 1 out of 100 times, it also generates a fully formed newborn infant. Now, even if the woman didn’t *want* or *intend* to generate the infant, the knowledge that they might be generating an infant puts the responsibility for the infant’s well being on them. To deprive that child of its *only* means of survival is clearly wrong, and I believe that we would, and should, punish folks who walk away from the newborn, leaving it to starve. All this, despite their “not intending” to create an infant..

    Woah, slow down there! Temporal distortion fields do not exist on this planet. This hypothetical fails to relate to reality–please re-install 9 months of incubation prior to infanthood.

    That they either shouldn’t have intercourse (which leaves other methods *far, far less likely to cause pregnancy*), OR should be willing to deal with the consequences

    Anyone responsible enough to have intercourse, get pregnant, and abort an unwanted ball of mass of cells before it becomes an unwanted baby sounds like someone plenty responsible enough to be having sex.

  286. anteprepro says

    I am feeling some Pro-Fetus talking points, floating in the aether. They must conjured, and distilled. Purified into their essence, and shown for all the world to see, in their true luminiferous glory!

    “Actions have consequences, and sometimes those consequences are babies.”
    “When life gives you a fetus, DON’T make fetusade.”
    “Even if you are pregnant, that’s no excuse to stop trying to lift yourself up by your bootstraps!”
    “How is a womb like a house? In every conceivable way, shut up you filthy baby-killers!”
    “Truly I’m just as broken up about having to restrict your rights as you are!”.

  287. consciousness razor says

    I’m still betting ‘innocent souls ‘ an ‘makes jesus cry’.

    Do you mean preborn Jesus, baby Jesus, hateful fraud Jesus, or undead Jesus?

  288. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Do you mean preborn Jesus, baby Jesus, hateful fraud Jesus, or undead Jesus?

    Is there a difference? They only exist between the ears of susceptible people….

  289. consciousness razor says

    Is there a difference? They only exist between the ears of susceptible people….

    Of course there is. It’s like if you imagined a purple unicorn while I imagined a green one. Those are obviously different.

  290. anteprepro says

    I think it is obviously Republican Jesus. A mix of hateful fraud and undead, with a dash of baby for debating style and skin softening.

  291. brianpansky says

    as much as i’m not enjoying frowntown, it seems lots of people are forgetting that frowntown is taking the “even if the fetus were a full grown person” position and apparently trying to say that “a fetus is not a person” would be the “more correct” argument to use.

  292. I've got the WTF blues says

    imagine a box in a cave, deep within a forest, several days walk from the edge. There is a button on it. Its functionality is clearly labeled. When a woman presses the button, 99 out of 100 times it will generate an orgasm and a feeling of well being in the button pusher. 1 out of 100 times, it also generates a fully formed newborn infant.

    I’d set up a fucking tent by that box! 99 out of 100 times an orgasm? Then a baby without having to actually gestate and expel it from my body? I’d hit that button until I couldn’t lift my arm anymore!

    You know what? I suspect it would be sort of like being a dudebro!

    Wait… I’ll bet that isn’t the reaction you were looking for.

    I apologize for my whorish desire to experience sexual fulfillment akin to what you yourself enjoy, Frowntown. I know such things are reserved for cis male privilege. Baby Jesus and his Mommy Mary are weeping tears ‘o blood over my wantonness.

    I’ll go off now to have my punishment baby.

  293. says

    consciousness razor
    Usually it’s baby Jesus who does the crying; hateful fraud Jesus is supposed to have only cried once, IIRC, while undead Jesus usually leaves the crying to PostMortem Mary. Preborn Jesus doesn’t talk at all in the official theology, and in the folk theology isn’t known for crying so much as haranguing people who were mean to Mary.

  294. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    as much as i’m not enjoying frowntown, it seems lots of people are forgetting that frowntown is taking the “even if the fetus were a full grown person” position and apparently trying to say that “a fetus is not a person” would be the “more correct” argument to use.

    No, Xe is taking the position the fetus is a person. Otherwise, Xe would have shut the fuck up about 200 posts back. Xe is a true anti-choice fuckwit, trying to pretend to reasonable….and not succeeding….

  295. says

    I thought Klusendorf did a superb job of picking apart PZ Myers assertions. Really I almost felt embarrassed for Myers. His arguments were horrible and listening to him fantasize about societies where parents can kill their 5 year old children was just bizarre.

    If Myers really thinks he is so smart, I’d love to see him challenge Klusendorf to a 1v1 moderated debate that could be put on youtube. Somehow I don’t think that would ever happen though because Myers would be completely outclassed and he knows it.

  296. Socio-gen, something something... says

    raven:
    Thanks for looking that up! My google-fu was not up to the challenge because I wasn’t sure what exactly to look for or where.

    frowntown:

    Should she be allowed to walk away, without fear of retribution, and simply explain to anyone who found the corpse “meh, I consented to pushing the button, not the infant that popped out.”

    Awesome: pregnancy is punishment for having sex, thus women are required to lose bodily autonomy and status as human beings once the sacred sperm breaches the ovum.

  297. brianpansky says

    ya, after reading some more, it seems that frowntown might not actually be as consistently “hypothetical” as i thought…

  298. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If Myers really thinks he is so smart, I’d love to see him challenge Klusendorf to a 1v1 moderated debate that could be put on youtube. Somehow I don’t think that would ever happen though because Myers would be completely outclassed and he knows it.

    All presuppositional religious fuckwits are outclassed. Which is all the Preacher has, is presupposition. He couldn’t cite a scientific paper if his life depended on it. Unlike, PZ.

  299. Rey Fox says

    kills over a million morally innocent persons each year, in our nation alone.

    They ain’t persons. But fine, let’s call them persons. What do you think should be done with all those millions of new persons, new mouths to feed? Who should care for them? The mothers who didn’t want them? The already overburdened foster system? Why exactly do we need all these other mouths to feed? But that’s the typical “pro-life” position, I suppose, quantity over quality. Once those precious souls are born, the “pro-life” folks don’t care anymore.

    Why not compare to Chile, where abortion is largely illegal and the maternal death rate is 25 in 100,000

    You mean nearly twice the maternal death rate you quoted earlier? Yes, let’s do compare. Particularly if that really doesn’t count deaths from illegal abortions. I suppose you don’t care much about those women either.

  300. Rey Fox says

    If Myers really thinks he is so smart, I’d love to see him challenge Klusendorf to a 1v1 moderated debate that could be put on youtube.

    Why? What’s wrong with doing it in written words and being able to consider one’s response and cite research if necessary?

  301. John Morales says

    [meta]

    I’ve got the WTF blues #313, I find your sardonic quip a most excellent retort.

  302. GrouperFish says

    Hi Socio-gen
    #268

    I am a woman in my early thirties. Pregnancy is something I would very much like to do someday. I’ve never been pregnant, but I have had pregnancy scares and I’ve certainly sat with friends when the issue to keep or terminate a pregnancy has come up. And yeah, I do think about these things because they are things that can actually happen to me.

    I’m sorry I made you feel badly.

    I think any reason a woman chooses is a good enough reason. If I had gotten pregnant a few years ago, I would have certainly terminated a it for the reason of my career. I think simply not wanting to be a parent right now is a good enough reason. I use birth control, but that’s not perfect, so it could have happened. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I’m not a pro-lifer. I don’t think that a embryo’s life trumps a person’s life

    I don’t know, someone raised the idea of a rutabaga. OK. But, I still stand by what I said because I can think of plenty of other example that aren’t as dismissable as a rutabaga Sure I get rid of ants when they get in my way – just being in my pantry is reason enough to get rid of them – but I don’t go looking for ants to kill for no reason. I certainly wouldn’t create ants just to kill them for no reason. PZ experiments on zebra fish embryos, but I bet he has to justify that to the university in terms of science, otherwise they wouldn’t let him use zebra fish indiscriminately (and that process I think is mediated by US law). Science is enough of a reason to destroy zebra fish embryos, but “just for the fun of it” is not a reason enough. A third example: food is reason enough to end the life of a chicken for me, but I wouldn’t go around raising and killing chickens just on a “whim”.

    So, I’m suggesting that people don’t run around getting purposefully pregnant so that they can purposefully abort it, and the reasons people don’t do that are *more* than simply because becoming not pregnant is a hassle. I’m curious about the more and what it is.
    Just FYI – I’m not confusing sex with pregnancy – purposefully having sex is not the same as purposefully becoming pregnant (especially with birth control!). Unfortunately, the stupid fact of the universe is, we can never have sex without risking pregnancy. I was disagreeing with PZ about his idea that a woman can terminate a pregnancy on a whim. (Although whim is a particularly odd word to apply to abortion regardless).

    And to the person who thinks the best way to put me down is to call my moral system “spiritual”:
    I have never called myself a spiritual person. Ewwwww. I define spiritual thinking as thinking that values come from some intrinsic essential divine place. I don’t think that.
    If PZ can say that he values the lives of other people why can’t I say I value life? Why is PZ’s system ok but mine is hokey spiritualism? The moral systems we have are just all what we agree we want to do to promote a system of values that we have agreed upon. It’s all convention. I’m telling you about the conventions I like.

  303. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Funny how forced birthers like FrownTown never, ever, discuss the evidence I presented in #39, and that evidence is recognized by every state in the Union as being a live birth, and every newborn is given a certificate. Must be a character default not to recognize reality….

  304. says

    GrouperFish,

    Trying to get these self-centered animals to approve of your value system is a lost cause. I honestly wouldn’t waste the time.

    But really, what PZ says is right is a way. On an atheistic worldview there is no absolute morality so no one can objectively condemn anything that a society decides to do, whether its murdering unborn babies, enslaving blacks, or exterminating Jews. They are all nothing more than animated blocks of matter that are cosmic accidents and will scatter to four winds upon death. Life is ultimately meaningless and has no purpose, which explains why most of the commenters here have such nasty attitudes.

  305. brianpansky says

    @326
    williambutler

    On a NON-atheistic worldview, there is no absolute morality so no one can objectively condemn anything that a society decides to do, whether its murdering unborn babies, enslaving blacks, or exterminating Jews. They are all nothing more than animated blocks of matter fated for afterlives. Life and afterlife is ultimately meaningless and has no purpose. just like god.

  306. anteprepro says

    Oh, can’t resist this last observation:

    If Myers really thinks he is so smart, I’d love to see him challenge Klusendorf to a 1v1 moderated debate that could be put on youtube. Somehow I don’t think that would ever happen though because Myers would be completely outclassed and he knows it.

    I love how if PZ just decides to argue against someone but doesn’t do it in person, we get Christians and other assorted wingnuts swarming, making buck-buck-buck noises and daring PZ to challenge someone to a formal public debate, because otherwise he is Chicken and therefore Wrong. But it is particularly rich in this case, because the person that you want to see PZ debate someone who was arguing about what PZ said after he had already been in for an interview ! If there is anybody you should be buck-buck-bucking, they aren’t on this side of fence, shit-for-brains!

  307. John Morales says

    GrouperFish @323:

    So, I’m suggesting that people don’t run around getting purposefully pregnant so that they can purposefully abort it, and the reasons people don’t do that are *more* than simply because becoming not pregnant is a hassle. I’m curious about the more and what it is.

    As I understand it, that’s already the view here.

    If PZ can say that he values the lives of other people why can’t I say I value life?

    Well, you can, but you’ll have gone from a specific case to an universal case.

    (Have you ever taken antibiotics?)

    Why is PZ’s system ok but mine is hokey spiritualism?

    His is specific, yours is vague.

    The moral systems we have are just all what we agree we want to do to promote a system of values that we have agreed upon. It’s all convention. I’m telling you about the conventions I like.

    No; you’re disputing the conventions others have told you they like no less than they’re disputing yours.

    williambutler @326:

    On an atheistic worldview there is no absolute morality so no one can objectively condemn anything that a society decides to do, whether its murdering unborn babies, enslaving blacks, or exterminating Jews. They are all nothing more than animated blocks of matter that are cosmic accidents and will scatter to four winds upon death. Life is ultimately meaningless and has no purpose, which explains why most of the commenters here have such nasty attitudes.

    So trite and so flawed!

    No; not only are you are appealing to the worldview rather than to the world (which is the only arbiter), but you fail to understand that not all people who believe in an “absolute morality” do so on the basis of theism.

    (Your reification of morality is a category error no less than an abdication of personal responsibility)

  308. says

    anteprepro,

    2/10….your attempt to get under my skin fell a bit short. Perhaps a few more f-words next time, I don’t know…

    At any rate, Klusendorf regularly debates the pro-life issue and has debated many notable people on the pro-choice side, including former ACLU president Nadine Strossen. I’m sure that he’d be up for a debate against PZ Myers, and I have no doubt whatsoever that he’s make Myers look like an utter fool, even if the audience was packed full of village atheists like yourself cheering wildly at every condescending comment that came out of Myers foul mouth.

  309. anteprepro says

    On an atheistic worldview there is no absolute morality so no one can objectively condemn anything that a society decides to do, whether its murdering unborn babies, enslaving blacks, or exterminating Jews

    Which is why the people who enslaved black people were all filthy atheists! No, wait…

    Which is why the people who exterminated Jews in Nazi Germany were all godless heathens that just happened to also consider themselves Christian! No, that’s a bit…

    Oh, but those people in the Middle East right now who want to kill the Jews, they are all….nope, shit.

    And I’m sure that no-one getting abortions ever came from a Christian family.
    Umm…a conservative Christian family?
    Umm… a conservative True Christian family, there, that’s the ticket!

    Gotcha, atheists!

  310. anteprepro says

    At any rate, Klusendorf regularly debates the pro-life issue and has debated many notable people on the pro-choice side, including former ACLU president Nadine Strossen. I’m sure that he’d be up for a debate against PZ Myers, and I have no doubt whatsoever that he’s make Myers look like an utter fool, even if the audience was packed full of village atheists like yourself cheering wildly at every condescending comment that came out of Myers foul mouth.

    Repeating your own assertions and adding extra dollops of smug and shit no-one cares about.

    0/10

    You will never make the National Trolling Team with these marks! Work on your routine, mister!

  311. consciousness razor says

    Sure I get rid of ants when they get in my way – just being in my pantry is reason enough to get rid of them – but I don’t go looking for ants to kill for no reason.

    There’s a difference between “no reason” and “a reason which isn’t good enough.” It doesn’t help to confuse those. Generally, if people take any action at all, they have some kind of reason for doing it.

    But ants, since you picked those, seem to be utterly incapable of suffering in any way. Meaning they’re still like a rutabega in that respect, which is what you were trying to avoid. So what is there to worry about if an ant is killed? Are you sure that in some way you’re not anthropomorphizing them or projecting humanity onto them, or because for whatever reason you think the lives of animals are more important than plants? It might be so in lots of cases because they can suffer, but for animals which can’t, why would it matter in that case? (I’m assuming we’re not talking about the extinction of entire species, since that has wider consequences which the death of a single ant or colony doesn’t have.)

    Science is enough of a reason to destroy zebra fish embryos, but “just for the fun of it” is not a reason enough.

    You should explain why you think it’s not enough, not just declare it is so without giving a reason.

    A third example: food is reason enough to end the life of a chicken for me, but I wouldn’t go around raising and killing chickens just on a “whim”.

    There are many other sources of food. So choosing a chicken instead of anything else, if you have that option, sure looks like a “whim” to me. It’s especially odd, considering what you just said about ants.

  312. says

    Morales,

    I have no doubt that people believe in absolute morality for all sorts of reasons. But the fact remains that on an atheistic worldview all of these reasons essentially boil down to personal preferences. Myers is at least candid enough to admit this and declare that the state is the ultimate arbiter and giver of individual rights.

    It’s quite refreshing to see him acknowledge this and concede that on his worldview there is nothing really wrong with parents killing their 5 year old children for the sake of convenience, although he himself would not do such a thing because he happens to think that children are cuddly or whatever. But if someone else wanted to off their 5-year old kid, what business is it of his, right?

  313. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    On an atheistic worldview there is no absolute morality

    There is no absolute morality, as you deity is imaginary, and you babble is a book of mythology/fiction. ˜No godbot has demonstarted otherwise except by presupposition. There is no evidence for either claim….

  314. Rey Fox says

    They are all nothing more than animated blocks of matter that are cosmic accidents and will scatter to four winds upon death. Life is ultimately meaningless and has no purpose

    So you say. What’s your life’s purpose?

  315. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I have no doubt that people believe in absolute morality for all sorts of reasons.

    All of them based on fallacious presuppositions. Show otherwise with solid and conclusive evidence. You can’t. Everybody but you knows that….

  316. says

    anteprepro,

    Wait, do you really want to go there? You do realize that millions have been slaughtered in the 20th century under atheistic regimes, I hope?

    And you really think the extermination of the Jews in Nazi Germany was a Christian movement? Hitler’s views on Christianity were a lot more similar to yours than they are to mine:

    “The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity. Bolshevism practises a lie of the same nature, when it claims to bring liberty to men, whereas in reality it seeks only to enslave them. In the ancient world, the relations between men and gods were founded on an instinctive respect. It was a world enlightened by the idea of tolerance. Christianity was the first creed in the world to exterminate its adversaries in the name of love. Its key-note is intolerance.”

  317. brianpansky says

    @334
    williambutler

    I have no doubt that people believe in absolute morality for all sorts of reasons. But the fact remains that on a NON-atheistic worldview all of these reasons essentially boil down to personal preferences.

  318. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You do realize that millions have been slaughtered in the 20th century under atheistic regimes, I hope?

    And under xian regimes. Don’t arrogant fool.

    And you really think the extermination of the Jews in Nazi Germany was a Christian movement?

    Your OPINION it wasn’t is irrelevant. Show third party evidence otherwise fool….

    Both are inventions of the Jew

    Talk about your bigotted presuppositions….

  319. consciousness razor says

    But really, what PZ says is right is [in?] a way.

    Nope.

    On an atheistic worldview there is no absolute morality

    As Morales points out, it’s the world not the view which affects that. If there’s a god (i.e., if a theistic worldview is correct), what would make you think any morality is “absolute”? Euthyphro showed how divine commandments, even if a deity itself considers them “absolute,” cannot be morality itself. Time to wake up.

    so no one can objectively condemn anything that a society decides to do,

    That does not follow, for one thing because “absolute” and “objective” don’t even mean the same thing.

  320. I've got the WTF blues says

    “On an atheistic worldview there is no absolute morality”

    You’re mistaking the biblical “worldview” for anything other. You know. The bible. The book that says kill a baby here and be praised. Kill a baby here and be damned. Wipe out all the men and rape all the women and be praised. Fail to honor your parents and be damned. You know. Subjective morality.

    “so no one can objectively condemn anything that a society decides to do, whether its murdering unborn babies”

    The bible even gives instructions on how to kill the little bastards!

    “enslaving blacks”

    Because it was atheists who did that…. wait… and isn’t there some biblical justification for that? something to do with Ham???

    ” or exterminating Jews. ”

    Because it was the atheists who did that….wait….wasn’t the common refrain that the world needed to be purged of the “christ killers?” …. doesn’t sound very, you know, atheistic….

    “They are all nothing more than animated blocks of matter that are cosmic accidents and will scatter to four winds upon death.”

    versus created from mud and spit and dust you are and to dust you will return… wait… not the atheists….again…. I am sensing a theme here…

    ” Life is ultimately meaningless and has no purpose, which explains why most of the commenters here have such nasty attitudes”

    Hold on… who was it that said this world was basically useless and “heaven” is the only purpose? Oops… not an atheist.

    Perhaps the “nasty attitudes” are because people like you will lie, cheat, murder, steal, rape, etc etc in the name of your “god” and call it good while projecting your ethical lack upon us?

    We have a bingo! (we just say Bingo)

  321. says

    Nerd of Redhead,


    All of them based on fallacious presuppositions. Show otherwise with solid and conclusive evidence. You can’t. Everybody but you knows that….

    Actually, I quite agree with you that absolute morality doesn’t exist if God doesn’t exist! You should be arguing with the other atheists who pretend otherwise, not me. We’re on the same side on that issue!

  322. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Christianity was the first creed in the world to exterminate its adversaries in the name of love. Its key-note is intolerance.”

    Gee, and the Xian Pope said “kill them all, let the imaginary deity make all judgements.”. what an ignorant fool you are….

  323. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Actually, I quite agree with you that absolute morality doesn’t exist if God doesn’t exist!

    And my point was that your deity doesn’t exist, so your claim is bogus, thanks for admitting the truth. You lose, as your deity doesn’t exist. You present no evidence for one. Just presume it exists.. Losership at work…

  324. brianpansky says

    @williambutler

    you have not shown that objective morality or absolute morality does exist if god does exist.

  325. John Morales says

    williambutler:

    But the fact remains that on an atheistic worldview all of these reasons essentially boil down to personal preferences.

    Again: what is any worldview but their personal preference?

    (One can be aware of other worldviews*, but they seem less correct than one’s own)

    I put it to you that you too have made a decision: you own personal preference is that your moral outlook be told to you by your holy book, your preacher, your faith, rather than by you trying to simply do what you think is the right thing to do.

    As far as morality goes, can you answer this question?

    Q: What do you think is more important: good intention, or good behaviour?

    * A much less precise term than weltanschauung.

  326. says

    Rabid atheists,

    Hmmm.. I’m not sure what you are ranting against. I’ve come on here applauding (in a way) Myers candid admission that on atheism there is no such thing as objective morality, and if a society elects to kill its 5 year old children, then so be it.

    What is the problem here? I agree with him! He’s absolutely right! Atheism perfectly allows for this, and no one has any right to condemn such a society.

    Of course, I’m not an atheist and I happen to believe that absolute, objective morality does in fact exist because morality is based on the nature of God. I also think this is readily apparent to everyone but the ones with the most seared consciences that killing a 5 year old kid is in fact wrong. It’s quite tragic to see that Myers is apparently one of these people, but props to him anyway for his candid admission.

    (I also assume that in Myers view a born human being who hadn’t developed enough to be considered a person could also be sexually exploited or have their organs harvested. It’s a logical assumption since on his view it is perfectly fine to kill them). Again, it should be readily apparent to anyone that this is wrong, and that a set of values does in fact exists which demands the condemnation of such activities.

  327. brianpansky says

    @349
    williambutler

    you said:

    “I happen to believe that absolute, objective morality does in fact exist”

    i know you do, but why?

    “because morality is based on the nature of God.”

    how does this make it more absolute and objective than basing it on any other thing?

  328. brianpansky says

    might as well be:

    “I happen to believe that absolute, objective morality does in fact exist because morality is based on the outcomes of tossed coins.”

    your position does not make any sense.

  329. anteprepro says

    I have no doubt that people believe in absolute morality for all sorts of reasons. But the fact remains that on an atheistic worldview all of these reasons essentially boil down to personal preferences.

    Why is “Teh Bible sez so” any better or less arbitrary? Show your work.

    It’s quite refreshing to see him acknowledge this and concede that on his worldview there is nothing really wrong with parents killing their 5 year old children for the sake of convenience, although he himself would not do such a thing because he happens to think that children are cuddly or whatever. But if someone else wanted to off their 5-year old kid, what business is it of his, right?

    Some choice passages that I am just copypasta from Evil Bible. :

    Hosea 13:16 God promises to dash to pieces the infants of Samaria and the “their women with child shall be ripped up”. Once again this god kills the unborn, including their pregnant mothers….
    1 Samuel 15:3 God commands the death of helpless “suckling” infants. This literally means that the children god killed were still nursing.

    Psalms 135:8 & 136:10 Here god is praised for slaughtering little babies….

    Leviticus 20:9 “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.”…

    2 Kings 6:28-29 “And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow. So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.”

    Deuteronomy 21:18-21 “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”….

    Proverbs 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14 & 29:15 God commands repeatedly that you beat your children…..

    Mark 7:9 Jesus criticizes the Jews for not killing their disobedient children according to Old Testament law.

    And for bonus reading!

    Small list of real life murders
    Article about real child abuse
    And real life medical neglect

    Absolute morality for the lose!

  330. John Morales says

    williambutler:

    Hmmm.. I’m not sure what you are ranting against. I’ve come on here applauding (in a way) Myers candid admission that on atheism there is no such thing as objective morality, and if a society elects to kill its 5 year old children, then so be it.

    Then you’ve come here on a false misrepresentation.

    I dare you to quote PZ’s actual words.

  331. Arawhon says

    So williambulter I take it you have irrefutable scientific evidence that your specific god exists? If so you should share it and be the amazing dude who converted an entire atheist website to Christianity. Of course its more like you’re going to just post some inane dribble filled with presupposition and fallacious thinking lacking in evidence. Which is pretty much what you have been doing these last few posts.

  332. says


    how does this make it more absolute and objective than basing it on any other thing?

    brianpansky,

    Of course. Assuming that God exists, morality is “objective” because a third party who is more intelligent than any other being (i.e. God) judges how the actions of one being affects another.

    It is “absolute” because it is decreed by the Ruler of the Universe and maker of all things (think of it as a command issued from a King or an Emperor that cannot be contested).

  333. Socio-gen, something something... says

    GrouperFish

    I apologize for my assumption that you were male.

    I think any reason a woman chooses is a good enough reason. […] I’m not a pro-lifer. I don’t think that a embryo’s life trumps a person’s life

    Sure I get rid of ants when they get in my way – just being in my pantry is reason enough to get rid of them – but I don’t go looking for ants to kill for no reason. […] A third example: food is reason enough to end the life of a chicken for me, but I wouldn’t go around raising and killing chickens just on a “whim”.

    Let me be very clear, and (I hope) alleviate this concern: It’s really really really unlikely that anyone is, will, or ever has gotten pregnant on purpose just to have an abortion. No one is having an abortion because they’re fun, or because they got a 50% off discount card, or because they got drunk and thought it would be HILARIOUS like that tattoo during Spring Break, or any other really spurious reason. Okay?

    For most women, abortion is a long thought-out and considered decision. They are fully aware of their options and what their decision will mean within the context of their lives: whether that is carrying to term and giving the resultant child up for adoption, carrying to term and raising the resultant child, or ending their pregnancy.

    It is not something done on a “whim.” Except in the minds of forced-birthers who think that women are just itching for a chance to get one. Although, let me ask: suppose someone does want an abortion as a whim — what sort of parent do you think that person would be to a child? Would it be right to demand that someone who would make such a decision so frivolously to be responsible for a child?

    You said that, based on your own life experiences, abortion and the morality of it is something you’ve thought about and considered. So, I would suggest, you’ve already have started that process and it is likely that, if you ever face an unplanned pregnancy, you’ll know what your choice will be, dependent on the circumstances of your life at the time. But your personal moral view only applies to you.

  334. Al Dente says

    Nerd of Redhead @345

    Gee, and the Xian Pope said “kill them all, let the imaginary deity make all judgements.”

    That is a paraphrase of what the Papal Legate, a monk named Arnaud Amalric, is supposed to have said during the sack of Béziers in 1209 during the Albigensian Crusade. He was asked how the Catholic and Cathar inhabitants of the town could be separated. Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. (“Kill them. For the Lord know those who are his own.”)

  335. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    objective morality does in fact exist because morality is based on the nature of God.

    Since your god is imaginary, this isn’t a statement of fact, but rather delusion. That is your problem here. You base your morality on a phantasm you can’t/won’t prove exists. And your unevidenced claims will be dismissed without evidence…..

  336. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Assuming that God exists,

    You do without evidence. We don’t with evidence….

  337. says

    Morales,


    I dare you to quote PZ’s actual words.

    Actually, just scroll up. He reaffirms this in this very blog where he says:

    That’s correct. There is no magic objective standard to say when an organism is a person. We rely entirely on cultural perspectives to define when we grant that organism the rights and privileges of a full member of the culture. This does not imply that I personally approve of societies that treat a newborn as expendable, only that it’s clear that there is no objective or scientific boundary. We always rely on an arbitrary definition.

  338. brianpansky says

    @355
    williambutler

    Of course. Assuming that God exists, morality is “objective” because a third party who is more intelligent than any other being (i.e. God) judges how the actions of one being affects another.

    what makes how the actions of one being affects the other objective? and what makes this part off limits to atheists?

  339. I've got the WTF blues says

    Killing a 5 year old is wrong, but a mythical father marching his kid up the side of the mountain to slit his throat because “god” told him too is a-okay, right, William?

    Because “god” absolutely cannot be wrong therefore any killing “he” commands is morally correct.*

    That isn’t subjective morality, how exactly?

    That’s not even getting into the whole mythical rape by “god” of a mythical 13 year old girl or the torture and murder of the mythical “son of god” which must be objectively okay because hey, once again, “god” willed it.

    Your “god” has the nature of a sociopath.

    Nice “worldview” ya got there, William.

    * or maybe Isaac wasn’t cuddly

  340. Rey Fox says

    you have not shown that objective morality or absolute morality does exist if god does exist.

    He hasn’t told me what his God-given purpose is either. And I’m even free of rabies.

  341. consciousness razor says

    Rabid atheists,

    I, for one, don’t have rabies. Are you addressing me, too? For the record, I’m one of those “militant” atheists who also happens to be a pacifist, so in the future I’d appreciate it if your blatant trolling were more relevant to people like me.

    Hmmm.. I’m not sure what you are ranting against.

    Why aren’t you sure? Have you considered the possibility it’s because you’re a clueless godbot?

    I’ve come on here applauding (in a way) Myers candid admission that on atheism there is no such thing as objective morality, and if a society elects to kill its 5 year old children, then so be it.

    Or maybe it’s because you’re an opportunist who doesn’t care at all what the truth is, just what rhetorical points you can score (but I repeat myself). I think PZ’s wrong. Applaud all you like about that, fuckwit. If people are convinced by Myers’ arguments, and a society starts killing 5-year olds (which you ostensibly don’t want), what would you say about your agreement with Myers then? What is more important to you?

    What is the problem here? I agree with him! He’s absolutely right! Atheism perfectly allows for this, and no one has any right to condemn such a society.

    No one, not even a god, because there is no god? How could it possibly hinge on that?

  342. anteprepro says

    Wait, do you really want to go there? You do realize that millions have been slaughtered in the 20th century under atheistic regimes, I hope?

    *facepalm*

    YOU are the one who “went there”, you fucking idiot!

    And you really think the extermination of the Jews in Nazi Germany was a Christian movement?

    Positive Christianity, you fucking ingrate. You can wring your hands all day about how his Christianity doesn’t resemble yours, but it sounds just like Catholics tut-tutting Protestants, and Baptists scoffing at the Church of England. And you can try to obfuscate about this by playing around with what Hitler did or did not believe, but the fact of the matter that you can’t deny is that the Nazis, the people following him, were Christians. No matter quote you scrounge up that Hitler muttered under his breath about how he’s pretending to be Christian for teh lulz, you still have an entire fucking nation of Christians. That’s kind of important, don’t you think, you dishonest fuckwad?

    Hitler’s views on Christianity were a lot more similar to yours than they are to mine:

    Am I only the one who reads that as accusing atheists/myself of being antisemitic?

  343. John Morales says

    williambutler, you failed the dare.

    Here, allow me:

    [@37:39 on the podcast]

    I could imagine a culture that would say that the kid doesn’t count until it’s 5 years old, for instance.

    I think that would be a pretty brutal society, but… OK, we can imagine such a thing.

    It’s perhaps PZ’s weakest moment, but it clearly doesn’t claim what you claim it claims.

    (He was elaborating on the point that personhood is a continuious rather than a quantum process, and illustrating that wherever a line is drawn, it must perforce be arbitrary.

    Related: cf. Sorites Paradox)

  344. Al Dente says

    williambutler @355

    Assuming that God exists, morality is “objective” because a third party who is more intelligent than any other being (i.e. God) judges how the actions of one being affects another.

    That’s a big assumption which you’ll have a very hard time peddling to the people here.

    I know of several quite intelligent people whose morality is, shall we say, questionable. Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scholar but not an exemplar of morality.

    It is “absolute” because it is decreed by the Ruler of the Universe and maker of all things (think of it as a command issued from a King or an Emperor that cannot be contested).

    As shown above, your god is a pretty bloodthirsty guy. He kills people on a whim or because they failed to follow some nit-picky rules. If that’s the sort of morality you’re following then please stay away from me. I don’t want to be around if you get the idea that your god wants you to kill people because they pissed him off.

  345. says

    brianpansky,

    what makes how the actions of one being affects the other objective? and what makes this part off limits to atheists?

    Because if two parties interact with one another, neither one of them are objective as to the action. If you and I have a dispute over property, for example, we cannot objectively judge the matter because we are both parties to the dispute.

    If Hitler had won World War II and had exterminated the Jews, and then exterminated and/or brainwashed everyone who disagreed with the genocide of the Jews so that everyone left alive thought it was a great thing, would this genocide still be objectively morally wrong?

    If God exists then it would because a third party (i.e. God) would objectively condemn the genocide even if every human on Earth celebrated it and thought it was a good thing.

  346. says

    Al Dente,

    As shown above, your god is a pretty bloodthirsty guy. He kills people on a whim or because they failed to follow some nit-picky rules.

    Actually, God “kills” everyone because we all have finite lifespans. Explain to me what you think God should do instead.

  347. anteprepro says

    Because if two parties interact with one another, neither one of them are objective as to the action.

    Because God totally never interacts with humans, and humans totally never interact with God! Of course!

    Weren’t we supposed be the atheists here?

    Seriously, don’t even fucking play this “I’m Suddenly A Deist Because It Is Convenient For My Argument!” game. Of all the apologetic nonsense shellgames, that is one of the ones I despise the most.

    ………………….

    I think I should have just stuck with my original assessment . He’s got a far-right wing, naive Christian perspective. A dime-a-fucking dozen, and completely incapable of anything insightful or original on the subject. Stupidity all the way down. Fail upon fail upon fail. Barely worth interacting with, and the best we can hope for is deriving entertainment value from the clown.

  348. I've got the WTF blues says

    If I were a god and I had phenomenal cosmic powers, I’d make a world where everyone was kind and there was no disease and no one went hungry and everything was clean and pretty.*

    I’m fucking benevolent that way

    Must be the rabies.

    * I’d make unicorns too because they are kind of awesome.

  349. Rey Fox says

    If God exists then it would because a third party (i.e. God) would objectively condemn the genocide even if every human on Earth celebrated it and thought it was a good thing.

    Heh. No, I think God is pretty big on the whole genocide thing.

  350. anteprepro says

    Explain to me what you think God should do instead.

    “Oh yeah, well you do better!” has always struck me is an interesting defense of the failings of an omnipotent, omniscient being.

    Also: Way to fucking dodge the question, Sir William Of Butler!

  351. brianpansky says

    @368
    williambutler

    so all you are saying is that one person is a third party that still disagrees with other people?

    what i meant by my two questions was:

    1) “the actions of one being affects the other” is a definition for morality that some people might not agree with, so i’m not sure why that definition is more “objective” than some other one. there are also different versions of this same definition that conflict with each other depending on how we try to phrase it.

    2) assuming this definition is the right one, you have no basis to say “On a atheistic worldview…no one can objectively condemn anything that a society decides to do”

  352. says

    anteprepro,

    Really man, you should just chill out. I can visualize the veins bulging out of your forehead as you type!

    Ah, you know what, that’s it for me. It’s been entertaining but I’ve a got a beautiful wife to go to bed with and a fantastic job to go to early tomorrow morning.

    I’m less than impressed with the level of discourse here. Of course, I’ve debated hundreds of atheists online and I usually leave unimpressed with their arguments. At any rate, I hope that PZ is ticked off enough that he challenges Klusendorf to a public debate! THAT would be entertaining!

  353. John Morales says

    [meta]

    williambutler @369:

    Actually, God “kills” everyone because we all have finite lifespans. Explain to me what you think God should do instead.

    Exactly as if there were no such thing as “God”.   ;)

    (Hey, it’s not up to me to tell your imaginary friend what it should do — that’s up to you)

  354. anteprepro says

    If I were God, I would be just like the Bible God, but I would at least have the decency to admit that I was actually malevolent and mildly incompetent. Honesty is the best policy, after all, and just because you are evil doesn’t mean you have to be a douchebag about it.

  355. brianpansky says

    @369
    williambutler

    “Explain to me what you think God should do instead.”

    ever hear of prison? or rehabilitation? or exile? or simple interference and negotiation?

  356. John Morales says

    [meta]

    williambutler @369:

    Really man, you should just chill out. I can visualize the veins bulging out of your forehead as you type!

    Hopefully it distracts you from the piss dribbling down your pants as you desperately withdraw.

    (Bye, theist)

  357. says

    think of it as a command issued from a King or an Emperor that cannot be contested

    There is no such thing as a command issued from a King, an Emperor, or anybody else, that cannot be contested.

  358. anteprepro says

    I can visualize the veins bulging out of your forehead as you type!

    That’s…weird. Because you should be visualizing me laughing at you.

    I’m less than impressed with the level of discourse here.

    That makes all of us. I’m sure that will change promptly. If you stick the flounce.

    Of course, I’ve debated hundreds of atheists online and I usually leave unimpressed with their arguments.

    I wonder why. If you stop by here again, make sure to google “Dunning-Kruger”.
    kthnxbai.

  359. consciousness razor says

    Because if two parties interact with one another, neither one of them are objective as to the action. If you and I have a dispute over property, for example, we cannot objectively judge the matter because we are both parties to the dispute.

    You have no idea what the words mean.

    It’s only considered someone’s property because there is someone who has a subjective relationship to it. Any time there is a subject who can think, act, suffer or cause suffering, there is something “subjective” about that situation. However, this does not imply there is no objective way to determine what people ought to do. Some other third party, a very wise judge, or even a fucking emperor like you had your little fascist masturbation fantasy about before, does not change anything about the nature of that situation.

    If Hitler had won World War II and had exterminated the Jews, and then exterminated and/or brainwashed everyone who disagreed with the genocide of the Jews so that everyone left alive thought it was a great thing, would this genocide still be objectively morally wrong?

    Yes. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make sound? It sure as fuck does. It just means no one is there to listen to the sound. The world is the way it is, no matter a person or a god thinks about it.

    If your god exists and thus allowed the holocaust to happen, why did it think it was a such a great thing? Did it have any reason for allowing it? What are they, and why do you think those are good reasons? Do you support the Nazis?

    Actually, God “kills” everyone because we all have finite lifespans. Explain to me what you think God should do instead.

    With the scare-quotes around “kills” I suppose this means you believe there’s an afterlife, in which there’s no suffering and “ultimate” justice for everyone for all of eternity? If that’s something a god can do, isn’t that what the world should’ve been like all along?

  360. brianpansky says

    Ah, you know what, that’s it for me. It’s been entertaining but I’ve a got a beautiful wife to go to bed with and a fantastic job to go to early tomorrow morning.

    damn. i always get so close to finally getting an answer to this theistic objective morality claim…

  361. Rey Fox says

    They never say what their purpose is. Is it that they’re embarrassed about it?

    I mean, going off that whole king or emperor thing, I’m guessing that the much vaunted purpose that us godless heathen don’t have is sucking up to the Big Boss Man of the Universe. And that strikes me as a pretty lame purpose.

    Oh dear, am I foaming at the mouth? I swear I’ve had my shots. Yip yip.

  362. Rey Fox says

    They always have beautiful wives and perfect jobs, eh?

    You’ll know they are Christians by their humility and grace.

  363. anteprepro says

    They always have beautiful wives and perfect jobs, eh?

    Because life isn’t fair.
    Because delusion is both a valuable job asset and attractive personality trait.
    Or because liars for Jesus love to lie for Jesus about everything .

    I can’t really decide which one I believe, but the first and third resonate with me quite well.

  364. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    I assume the reason williambutler says he has a fabulous job is because it involves conning enough money from the sheep to make him feel fabulous – that’s all – and the beautiful wife is just because he conned enough to pay for all the plastic surgery he thought she needed.

    Same as every other one of those plastic fantastic christians – fraudulent from head to toe and rotten at heart.

    If he were one of the decent christian people – yes, there are some – he wouldn’t have come here to dump that “rabid” and “child-killing” shit. It doesn’t take any extra assumptions to identify him as one of the rotten kind. Violent criminal? Probaby not. But liar and fraud? Odds are good.

    Was there a previously banned troll named William Butler? Just my odd memory? Just a coincidence of common names?

  365. Joshua says

    Dr. Meyers,

    In your original post you said “I haven’t bothered to listen” which I think just about summarizes well the reason for your underdeveloped arguments regarding the historicity of Jesus and abortion. In fact, you go so far as to start this post “Some Christian named Scott Klusendorf” (emphasis added)! Scott Klusendorf is one of the foremost Christian apologists on writing and speaking on the topic of abortion and you’ve never heard of him?! That shows me that you possibly either weren’t reading too widely on the topic or weren’t looking too deeply into your opposition. (I think his is a name you would certainly have come across.)

    And that one thing I kept wondering about you as I kept hearing assertion after assertion in your interview on Issues, etc.What sources were you using?

    John Warwick Montgomery — whom you call merely ” a theologian” — actually has more than 10 earned degrees. He’s got an encyclopedic mind and given his background, he’s not someone you should ignore or casually listen to. While you may be a brilliant biologist, he said many things that shed light on the fact that when it comes to the historicity of Jesus, you’re certainly not an expert and many times your conclusions conveniently “outran” the facts, a fact which Dr. Montgomery continuously drew attention to (which your blog readers might do well to admit to themselves).

    Here’s an idea: I’ll contact Scott and how about you do another interview about the abortion topic? Don’t just hang out here on the blog with 388 yes-men/women. Let’s get someone to get you to support your assertions. (Todd Wilken, the host of Issues, etc., is a brilliant guy with a highly-developed sense of humor, but I told him that his kindness made it too easy for you.) You came on, asserted things, pulled Jesus down to the level of Tinkerbell, and genuinely made yourself look like an amiable, but arrogant guy simple trying to say provocative things without any real substance.

    Speaking of which… one thing that had me personally shaking my head was the crap you threw on the legacy of many known and unknown Christian missionaries over the centuries who’ve left everything in order to improve the lives of people around the world prompted by the teachings of Jesus. You’re casual dismissal of their labor and sacrifices was not only self-serving, but down-right disgraceful. In the Far East — the country where I live to be precise — it was Christian missionaries who brought schools for women (so much for your phantom of oppression of women), medicine, the printing press, and even written language and literacy. In fact, this little gripe you have with Christianity’s supposed oppression of women is dubious. Even famed Chinese scholar, Hu Shih, said:

    “Let women serve as oxen and horses.’ This saying is not sufficient to describe the cruelty and meanness with which Chinese have treated women. We ‘let women serve as oxen and horses,’ put on yokes, wear saddles, and as if that were not enough, spurs and horse shoes, then chased them out to work! Our holy Scriptures were of no saving value. For a thousand years, Confucian philosophers talked about love and benevolence day after day, yet never noticed the cruel and inhumane treatment of their mothers and sisters.

    “Suddenly from the West a band of missionaries arrived. Besides preaching, they also brought new customs and new ways of looking at things. They taught us many things, the greatest of which was to look at women as people.”

    Before you make another comment on the legacy of Christianity, why not do yourself and your audience a favor by actually reading the biographies of people like Hudson Taylor, Thomas Barclay, Timothy Richardand the plethora of other Christian missionaries who’ve contributed to the general wellbeing and happiness of others at the expense of comfort and fame and best sellers…

    Sincerely,

    Joshua

  366. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Of course. Assuming that God exists, morality is “objective” because a third party who is more intelligent than any other being (i.e. God) judges how the actions of one being affects another.

    What if a person is angry with God for… I don’t know, allowing the Holocaust to happen or something. God, obviously, is a party to the dispute. Who gets to be objective then?

    It is “absolute” because it is decreed by the Ruler of the Universe and maker of all things (think of it as a command issued from a King or an Emperor that cannot be contested).

    What do you mean by “cannot be contested”? Can’t God’s commandments be disobeyed by someone who disagrees with them?

  367. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Dr. Meyers,

    In your original post you said “I haven’t bothered to listen” which I think just about summarizes well the reason for your…

    I love the juxtaposition of these

    hi hi

  368. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    Can’t God’s commandments be disobeyed by someone who disagrees with them?

    Sure they can. Christians disagree with god’s commandments all the time. They disagree with each other what the commandments are, and even when they agree what they are, they still can’t agree n what it means to “follow the commandments”. They disagree about whether “lust in one’s heart” is every bit as bad as physically commiting adultery, or not. And the ones who want to commit adultery, even though Thou Shalt Not Do It is a direct commandment, disobey as often (more often, actually) than non-christians.

    Objective morality is a fraud invented by conartists like williambutler to keep the flock in line, the better to fleece them.

  369. rinn says

    frowntown et jeffreylewis, of course you are right that the violinist analogy is not perfect. But, I would say that consent to sex does not imply consent to carry a child, especially in cases when contraceptives were used. So the violinist should be analogous to both rape cases and in cases where contraceptives were used, because due diligence has been exercised to prevent pregnancy.

  370. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    Joshua –
    What are you here for? (If you are still here, I mean, not just a drive-by shooter.) What is your desired outcome for your posting?

    Please keep your answers simple. We’re dumb hick atheists and we can’t possibly keep up with your side’s sophistimacated theology, encyclopedic minds, and feminist missionaries. Oh, and don’t forget, you brought the printing press; that’s a really unfair advantage!

    So you can take it easy on us.

    Just please, try not to be a christian asshole like williambutler.

  371. says

    think of it as a command issued from a King or an Emperor that cannot be contested

    Sure; so where’s the part where I rebel against and unseat God then? Because, uh, I’m pretty sure you don’t know this, but absolutism wasn’t much of a thing until the enlightenment era, and what I just described is exactly what tended to happen to kings or emperors who thought they were absolute rulers for most of history.

    That’s putting aside the other side of the coin; An emperor that can’t convince me that his rules make sense and are just is going to have to apply coercion. The Christian Triplicate God can’t really do that as presented in the bible.

    Ah, you know what, that’s it for me. It’s been entertaining but I’ve a got a beautiful wife to go to bed with and a fantastic job to go to early tomorrow morning.

    Anyone who’s got to convince themselves that badly…

    I’m less than impressed with the level of discourse here. Of course, I’ve debated hundreds of atheists online and I usually leave unimpressed with their arguments

    Anyone who thinks divine command theory is actually solid is someone who’s opinions I can go without.

  372. says

    In your original post you said “I haven’t bothered to listen” which I think just about summarizes well the reason for your underdeveloped arguments regarding the historicity of Jesus and abortion. In fact, you go so far as to start this post “Some Christian named Scott Klusendorf” (emphasis added)! Scott Klusendorf is one of the foremost Christian apologists on writing and speaking on the topic of abortion and you’ve never heard of him?! That shows me that you possibly either weren’t reading too widely on the topic or weren’t looking too deeply into your opposition. (I think his is a name you would certainly have come across.)

    Wait, hold up, you’re trying to press an anti-abortion view, asw a Christian, while claiming that Christianity isn’t misogynist? Can you share your drugs with me?

    Also, the ‘foremost old white patriarch writing on women’s issues’, even if true (I doubt it), is a meaningless authority. What an asinine thing to say, “You must not have been paying attention to the debate on women’s issues if you haven’t heard of my favorite patriarch!” Because you know, there aren’t fucking dozens of them yammering on at any given moment.

    John Warwick Montgomery — whom you call merely ” a theologian” — actually has more than 10 earned degrees. He’s got an encyclopedic mind and given his background, he’s not someone you should ignore or casually listen to. While you may be a brilliant biologist, he said many things that shed light on the fact that when it comes to the historicity of Jesus, you’re certainly not an expert and many times your conclusions conveniently “outran” the facts, a fact which Dr. Montgomery continuously drew attention to (which your blog readers might do well to admit to themselves).

    Richard Carrier, however, *is* an expert on that. The conclusions on Jesus’ historicity aren’t kind to someone who wanted a particular Yeshua depicted in the bible (unsurprisingly).

    (so much for your phantom of oppression of women),
    Sorry, can’t hear you, Christians are trying to get into our uteruses because we’re not being ‘good women’, can you run that hwole ‘Christians are anti-misogyny’ thing past me again?

    Hint: That some missionaries weren’t horrible changes little. Especially given that modern day christianity, for the most part, has doubled down on the misogyny.

  373. vaiyt says

    morality is “objective” because a third party who is more intelligent than any other being (i.e. God) judges how the actions of one being affects another.

    Oh, should we all wait for God to speak up before taking any decision, then?

  374. alwayscurious says

    Well, darn Joshua, too bad PZ’s arguments are so underdeveloped and he’s so uninformed on the topic. That most likely disqualifies him from taking up any time from the great Scott Klusendorf, masterful author & speaker. He surely has better things to do than waste his time on someone so backward & unlearned on the topic. You were so quick to provide a link for John Montgomery that you must have missed linking a page on Scott. Maybe you could just pass along his CV when you get the chance so we can all be surprised and study up.

    In the Far East — the country where I live to be precise — it was Christian missionaries who brought schools for women (so much for your phantom of oppression of women), medicine, the printing press, and even written language and literacy

    Minor factual corrections: the Chinese developed writing before Jesus was even prophesized about; literacy and literature were well established in the Far East before Jesus was even born; and printing presses with movable type were developed in Korea centuries before Gutenberg (not to say he didn’t make important improvements). So are you saying that Christians forced isolated civilizations to adopt their ways after being overlooked by or outright rejecting the very same advances available from nearby countries? Or was the vagueness intentional, so that we couldn’t provide concrete evidence that your claims were trivial or downright false?

  375. frowntown says

    @alwayscurious, @procrastinatorordinaire, @EVERYONE

    I am *explicitly* referring to those who claim the bodily rights argument applies even when the unborn is a person. Hence, for the purposes of this discussion, there is no difference between a fetus and a newborn, at least for the purposes of calculating its rights.

    I know there are a lot of posts in this thread, but I’ve explained this over and over and over and over and over.

    Some “fuckwit” even accused me of being a “delusional” for supposing that such people exist. This, despite the fact that I repeatedly cited multiple examples of such people *in this very thread*, and to this same “fuckwit.” Twice this “fuckwit” accused me of lying about this, even after I shared all of the examples with xyr, including comment numbers. (And “Fuckwit” is what this “fuckwit” repeatedly calls me, even after purposely lying and trying to confuse the issue, over and over again, so I am just returning the favor.)

    Feel free to reject all of my points, arguments and counterexamples IF you are willing to agree that the bodily rights argument doesn’t work the way it’s intended, when one assumes (at least for the sake of examining this argument) that the fetus is a person. Many people think it does, and it is to those people I am speaking.

    I’ll be happy to have the “personhood” debate another time.. The problem is that, in my experience, pro-legalized abortion folks often (probably unwittingly) argue circularly, stating that the fetus is not a person because of bodily autonomy, and that the bodily autonomy arguments work, at least in part, because the fetus is not a person. This is one of the several reasons that I insist on keeping these arguments completely separate.

    @”fuckwit”

    A certain “fuckwit” seems to think that the discussion is about what the law currently says. Xe spent many posts screeching and babbling about how much xe didn’t want any of us to answer xyr, and now xe is simply *shocked* that no one engaged xyr “evidence.” This so called “evidence”, of course, being that (summarizing) “states currently give certificates of life birth once an infant is born, and, btw, lots of stuff happens at birth.” LOL. This same “fuckwit” also refuses to admit that xe was lying or mistaken, when xe repeatedly accused me of being delusional for claiming that some folks believe that bodily rights arguments apply, even if one grants, for the sake of discussion or otherwise, that the unborn is a person. LOL.

    This same “fuckwit” is so bent on finding “bullshit” to freak out about, that xe chose to ignore the quote marks in @William Butler’s post, where he was quoting Hitler, and decided to treat the language as if it was Butler’s own o_O

    @anteprepro

    In the past, when I didn’t explicitly identify the woman as pressing the button, I was yelled at for “assuming” that the woman was a “baby machine”, to be pressed like a button, against her will, whenever the man desired (even though, from the context, it was clear that consensual sex was intended… you know since I said it about a dozen times, just as I did in this discussion.) Feel free to modify it by substituting in “the woman and her partner agree to press it at the same time.” All of the same logic still applies.

    But yes, I add in dozens of qualifiers in the hopes of fending off endless ad hominem, irrelevant accusations. Thus I use qualifiers like “innocent” and “living”, I mention genders, I sometimes say things like “member of the species homo sapiens”, etc, all when I think a charitable reader would do fine without them. But people here (and elsewhere) can’t get enough of latching onto anything that they can twist beyond recognition into some sort of “admission” of misogyny. They aren’t interesting in having a conversation, they just want to repeat “utterly unlimited bodily autonomy” like a mantra, and then accuse others (LOL) of being presuppositionalists, and this, all while being well aware that they don’t *really* accept *unlimited* bodily autonomy, except in this arbitrary and ad hoc case, which just happens to align with their desire to avoid the consequences of their actions. *yawn*

    @I’ve got the WTF blues

    Yeah, it’d definitely be hard not to sit around pressing the button!

    The question is whether you’d defend another person’s “right” to repeatedly press the button and then walk away, leaving a newly generated infant to starve, or slits its throat, as a “mercy” killing (after all, that is what is at stake IF the unborn is a person), all because they didn’t “intend” to generate the child, even though they knew there was a reasonable chance of doing just that.

    Thank you for admitting that you believe that the bodily autonomy argument works even if the fetus is a person. It’s helpful to have more examples of this phenomenon, when so many find it so unbelievable (I don’t find it unbelievable at all! The whole point of the most popular version of this argument was an attempt to show exactly what you are claiming. I just think the argument completely fails *except in cases of rape.*)

    BTW, some of what you said in 303 was just screed (crap about which websites I supposedly read, “[letting] menz just manage [woman’s] reproduction”, etc. But you did make a few points that I’ll interact with.

    First, I did not argue that making abortion illegal in Chile made the maternal death rate decrease. I simply pointed out (again, explicitly) that it did not directly cause it to rise.

    Your almost-fetal-rape analogy accusation (and the comment just before it) *as usual*, *completely reverses the causal roles of the fetus and the mother.* The fetus did not take some action which resulted in its entry into the mother (contra the case where a rapist acts.) Rather, the mother (and her partner) took some action which knowingly risked *causing* the fetus to appear in her womb. She knowingly acted in such a way that led to the fetus being connected to her, and to the fetus existing in a needy and endangered state. Now, she wants to remove that fetus even if doing so requires dismembering a tiny human person, who is only in the circumstances that offend her *because she herself caused those circumstances.* I’m only asking that she do what we require a mother to do with her born children (since we’re not arguing about personhood now), which is provide food, shelter, hygiene, etc, as would be reasonably foreseen, until such time as her offspring can be safely transferred to a secondary guardian (if she she wishes.)

    It would be closer to rape if, e.g., the woman was raped (!), and then the fetus took up residence in her womb. In that case, the fetus’s location would be ultimately caused by the man who violated the mother, and not the mother herself. Ultimately, she wouldn’t be responsible for the fetuses existence inside her womb, and as such, the calculus shifts (whether there are other arguments outside this that apply, I’m not sure. But the bodily autonomy argument appears to be pretty strong against pregnancies that resulted from nonconsensual sex.)

    But that’s not what I’m talking about, and that’s not what happens in 97+% of all pregnancies that end in abortion.

    @brianpansky

    It’s true that I have a “dog in this race.” That doesn’t affect the validity of my case regarding bodily autonomy arguments when one accepts the personhood of the fetus. To think otherwise would be akin to rejecting an argument because you don’t like the person making it.

    @Rey Fox,

    There are a probably a bunch of reasons that Chile’s maternal death rate is higher than the US’s. My point was that IF we are comparing maternal death rates, we ought not do so with Afghanistan (even as a rhetorical point about how much I, yawn, supposedly “hatez womynz” and want them to die.. I’ll say again, I hope that we will find a method of contraception that is 100% effective or so effective that it’s failure is a wild and uncommon fluke, which no responsible adult would reasonably foresee. Then both women and men can have all the consequence free sex they want, whether promiscuous or not, or pleasurable or not. The constant questioning of my motives is just indicative of a glaring lack of rational argument, or at least an unwillingness to deal with the content of my claims.)

    Furthermore, IF the unborn are persons, then it makes sense to compare the maternal death rate to the abortion-death rate, which is near 100%. Finally, there is no evidence that the maternal death rate has gone up, as a result of tighter abortion restrictions in Chile. That’s all I was getting at, and only because someone selected Afghanistan (of all places) for comparison.

    Of course, I hope that no one dies from abortion, neither woman nor fetus, whether by legal or illegal abortion.

    ” But fine, let’s call them persons. What do you think should be done with all those millions of new persons, new mouths to feed? Who should care for them? The mothers who didn’t want them? The already overburdened foster system? Why exactly do we need all these other mouths to feed? But that’s the typical “pro-life” position, I suppose, quantity over quality. ”

    OK, but please read carefully. IF (only if) you agree (for the sake of argument) that they are persons, then your exact same reasoning could be applied to unwanted born children. Obviously, the fact that some innocent child is not beloved doesn’t mean that it is just to purposely kill them, no matter how inconvenient they might be.

    Not that it matters for the sake of this discussion, but nearly all healthy newborn infants offered for full adoption, are adopted. There is a massive waiting list to adopt children. *This is different* than those in foster care, many of whom are not newborn, and whose parents have often not entirely and permanently surrendered their parental rights.

    Depending on your definition of “need”, you’re right. We don’t “need” them. But we don’t “need” a lot of people, especially the less productive members of our society. That doesn’t mean that they should be killed, or that we ought to provide legal protection to those who decide to kill them!

    I hope you see why the personhood debate is paramount here. All of these side arguments are just red herrings, when one takes seriously the notion that the unborn deserve equal human rights.

    Of course, IF they are not persons, then I see very little reason to regulate abortion in any way, except to ensure the health and safety of the woman and maybe if/when there is strong evidence of fetal pain (for the same reasons we have animal welfare laws.)

    @consciousness razor

    “But having sex while using contraception is far less likely to result in pregnancy than having sex without it. That is obviously much of the reason why people use it. So if it fails, is there any coherent sense in which they are “not responsible” for the pregnancy, thus the woman shouldn’t be forced to give birth? (I say the woman, because I’m leaving aside your sci-fi scenarios where men do have to make the same choice.) You can’t very well say that was “freely chosen,” if in fact they deliberately tried to prevent it from happening.”

    That’s an interesting question. I’d probably be willing to agree that the bodily rights argument would be more forceful if the couple whose acts caused the pregnancy responsibly used a method of contraception that reduced the rate of accidental pregnancy to that of a fluke. It’d have to be an incredibly small chance to account for the fact that the fetus is wholly innocent of the circumstances, and the parents are entirely responsible.

    I think you’ll agree that we often differentiate between intending to do something, and being responsible for it, even if an attempt was made to avoid it. For example, we might ask, would a responsible person foresee that there was still a reasonable chance of life-threatening harm, despite the precautions they took? One need not specifically intend some act to be responsible for it, even if they did “something” to try to avoid it. It’d all depend on what that “something” was, how much it reduced the chances, and how serious was the harm they were possibly going to cause.

    In any event, that’s not where we find ourselves today. As I previously noted, most abortions are not the result of unintended pregnancies that occurred despite careful use of highly effective contraception. Not only does contraception sometimes fail (especially after repeated use), but it’s quite often not used at all, or not used correctly or consistently.

    Would you mind responding to the “clearly labeled” box question and the “snowstorm” question (assume that the mother used birth control, if that changes things for you)? You can find them by searching from the top of this page for the phrases quoted above. Note, these examples assume that the fetus is a person, which has been repeatedly accepted for the sake of examining this argument. If you agree that the bodily rights argument doesn’t work as intended when fetal personhood is accepted, then we have no quarrel, for now.

    “And it still isn’t clear what moral relevance you think a fetus has. Why exactly is abortion a problem, according to you?”

    I’m not interested in going through that whole long, drawn out conversation right now. But I will give you a quick off the cuff answer.

    I think abortion is prima facie wrong. It purposely takes the life of an innocent, living member of the species homo sapiens, i.e., a human, who is in a needy and endangered state due to the freely chosen acts of the person or persons who now want to kill it. I’m against it for probably the same reasons you’d be against (even painlessly) killing a (n even drugged) newborn. I think that any attempt to define personhood such that it excludes the fetus will be either utterly ad hoc (e.g., “it was born”, among others), or will exclude some non-fetal humans who the pro-legalized abortion folks believe should deserve protection, or will have some other similar flaw.

    I also find it strangely reminiscent of other moments in our history, where nearly all of us end up regretting that the people that came before us said things like “but the black man is subhuman, he is his master’s property” or “don’t like slavery, don’t own a slave” or “what will happen to the slaves when they are all released? who will take care of them?” or “The Supreme Court already ruled! Get over it” or “you don’t own slaves, and you’re not from the south, so it’s easy for you to say.” These folks too had their *arbitrary* characteristic which they used to settle the issue: the skin color and *assumed* mental status of the slaves. Folks who tried to persuade them were often met with cries of “don’t force your moralizing nonsense on me” and “DON’T YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE?! JUST LOOK AT THEIR SKIN” (among others.)

    How would you *prove* to the antebellum slave owner that he was wrong? You could do little else than to show him that the arbitrary characteristics upon which he based his discrimination, were just that: arbitrary, and that he was unable to demonstrate that they were morally significant, and that he should not enslave black people for the same reason that he should not enslave white people.

    I don’t believe it ever makes sense to utterly refuse to acknowledge an innocent human’s paramount right to life, due to some accidental characteristic like “he’s not big enough”, “she’s the wrong gender”, “his skin is the wrong color”, “he’s less developed”, “she requires the help of others to survive”, “he’s not smart enough”, “she’s too old, or too young”, “he’s been put somewhere where he isn’t wanted”, etc. This does not sit well with me, and it’s all the more bizarre when the condition is known to be temporary!

    Many pro-legalized abortion folks that deny the personhood of the unborn are literally asking us to deny ALL legal protection and equality under the law to an innocent, inconvenient, and powerless class of humans. And why? “Well: because! It’s arbitrary, sure, but *I* *think* this thing matters enough to render it reasonable to violently kill that human. So, yeah, this is the line *I* pick. Now deal with it, you filthy misogynist bigot.” I’m sure you can understand why some folks have a problem with that.

    But like I said, I’ll probably stick to discussing the bodily rights argument, at least at length, with those who grant that it works even if the fetus is a person. I’m not particularly interested in taking the personhood conversation to its limit. Today was mind-bendingly irritating, what with the very active, annoying and yet ever so utterly predictable and boring trolls.

    @mostofyou
    I’d like to thank all the folks who decided to discuss this calmly and rationally with me. ttys in the next few days.

    Ok folks, I’ll be back eventually.

  376. alwayscurious says

    And just for clarity, a culture that has developed or conveyed innumerable wonderful things like literature, medicine, and education doesn’t give earn special right to elevate its claims about basic morality above all others.

  377. Nick Gotts says

    Oh, should we all wait for God to speak up before taking any decision, then?

    He has! He says don’t eat shellfish or get tattoos. Or round the corners of your beard. Oh, or wear a cotton-and-polyester shirt. Those are the really important ones I think.

  378. erik333 says

    @368 williambutler

    If Hitler had won World War II and had exterminated the Jews, and then exterminated and/or brainwashed everyone who disagreed with the genocide of the Jews so that everyone left alive thought it was a great thing, would this genocide still be objectively morally wrong?

    That would entirely depend on what values you use to judge moral actions. You can, in principle, objectively evaluate an action according to a set of values. The values themselves are always subjective.

    If God exists then it would because a third party (i.e. God) would objectively condemn the genocide even if every human on Earth celebrated it and thought it was a good thing.

    So you don’t believe in the flood story then? Your god clearly not only condones genocides, he commits them even more successfully than Hitler!

    God’s moral values are still subjective, no amount of intelligence changes that – and there is no reason to think (even if we knew a god existed) that his values would further human well-being. Rather, evidence suggests that humans are entirely irrelevant on the cosmic scale, we better fend for ourselves as well as we are able.

  379. Nick Gotts says

    I don’t believe it ever makes sense to utterly refuse to acknowledge an innocent human’s paramount right to life, due to some accidental characteristic like “he’s not big enough”, “she’s the wrong gender”

    Liar. Since continuing a pregnancy is almost always more of a risk to maternal life than an abortion, you’re quite happy with denying “the paramount right to life” of a pregnant woman. As for that sneaky little inclusion of “innocent”, no, that won’t wash. If the right to life is “paramount”, then it makes no sense at all to restrict it to those who are “innocent”. Which of us with sufficient cognitive capacity to appreciate the possible consequences of our actions is “innocent”? Or do you perhaps want to restrict this “paramount right to life” to those without that capacity?

  380. rinn says

    @frowntown
    I appreciate the sentiment that “life” should outweigh “autonomy”, but that is not what you are arguing, is it? From your post responding to the violinist analogy I gathered that you are willing to stipulate that the bodily autonomy argument is valid. Your problem seemed to be that there was implied consent to carry a child in non-rape cases and therefore bodily autonomy is not relevant to the discussion. If you are willing to make the stipulation that your only concern is implied consent, then we can talk further.

    However, I would be very much worried about that implied consent theory. When you go to see a football match, are you giving an implied consent to get beat up by fans of the other team? There is a distinct possibility that this might happen to you and despite that you willingly went to see the match. When you walk in street late at night, are you giving implied consent to get mugged? Again, the odds of that happening to you might be low, so you quite reasonably (and freely) decided to walk home. I dont think you would say to the victims in these two cases that they made a free decision and thus it was their fault that they got injured.

    That was to address the implied consent theory. In your later posts you seem so suggest that you have doubts about the bodily autonomy argument itself, but again, in your earlier post you seemed to have granted it (at least in rape cases). So if it works for rape, then it should work for all cases with want of consent and I hope I managed to show that it is very hard to make the implied consent theory work. I do acknowledge some slippery slope here (irregular or incorrect usage of contraceptives), but I think that the discussion of these cases would ultimately lead to the football stadium above.

  381. consciousness razor says

    That’s an interesting question. I’d probably be willing to agree that the bodily rights argument would be more forceful if the couple whose acts caused the pregnancy responsibly used a method of contraception that reduced the rate of accidental pregnancy to that of a fluke.

    How could this be put in terms of an enforceable law? The only option I could see is requiring people to have reliable documentation of every time they fuck and what kinds of contraception they used. That is not even remotely reasonable or practical, but it’s the only the option that isn’t so far removed from reality that it involves things like time-travel or omniscient beings who have access to whatever information you happen to want from them.

    I think you’ll agree that we often differentiate between intending to do something, and being responsible for it, even if an attempt was made to avoid it.

    We often do. Should we? How could it be relevant to any harm that is actually caused by a behavior? It can’t, because with the same consequences, all else being equal for the same behavior, a person’s intentions make no difference whatsoever. Even if it did matter somehow or another, how could we do anything useful with what we merely believe people’s intentions are anyway?

    When a nice, upstanding, force-birther Christian like yourself knows deep down in her heart that she did her very best to be “responsible” yet failed utterly when she got her abortion, when she turns to her imaginary deity for reconciliation because at least God knows she did nothing wrong, why should it matter to anyone else? Should people believe she’s not a hypocrite for being a forced-birther but having an abortion when it suits her? Why should this have anything to do with the law?

    In any event, that’s not where we find ourselves today. As I previously noted, most abortions are not the result of unintended pregnancies that occurred despite careful use of highly effective contraception.

    Citation needed. Also include what measures the government uses to prevent access to contraception, how many of the women who get these abortions are “not responsible” for this state of affairs, as well as your exact views on what should be done about it.

    Not only does contraception sometimes fail (especially after repeated use), but it’s quite often not used at all, or not used correctly or consistently.

    Citation needed. Explain what, if anything, should be done about sex education and reproductive healthcare to correct this, both in schools and the broader public.

    (Of course you don’t have tell me that it does fail, since that was my point when I raised the issue in the first place. You’re saying it’s “quite often,” as if to argue against it, so give me some real numbers and say something substantial instead of this vague gibbering.)

    I think abortion is prima facie wrong. It purposely takes the life of an innocent, living member of the species homo sapiens, i.e., a human, who is in a needy and endangered state due to the freely chosen acts of the person or persons who now want to kill it.

    Is it okay if guilty people die? This “right to life” I hear so much about, does that mean anything to you? Does it mean “innocent babies” or is it actually about a right to have a life — you know, for anyone who is alive, not just innocent babies? And what kind of life are we allowed to have? Would you say it’s just kind of a meaningless slogan?

    I also find it strangely reminiscent of other moments in our history, where nearly all of us end up regretting that the people that came before us said things like “but the black man is subhuman, he is his master’s property” or “don’t like slavery, don’t own a slave” or “what will happen to the slaves when they are all released? who will take care of them?” or “The Supreme Court already ruled! Get over it” or “you don’t own slaves, and you’re not from the south, so it’s easy for you to say.” These folks too had their *arbitrary* characteristic which they used to settle the issue: the skin color and *assumed* mental status of the slaves. Folks who tried to persuade them were often met with cries of “don’t force your moralizing nonsense on me” and “DON’T YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE?! JUST LOOK AT THEIR SKIN” (among others.)

    Don’t you dare use bigotry or slavery against them, when you’re advocating treating women as incubators for the state, shaming them for having the lives they do and for being what they are, deciding you know better than them or their doctors what kinds of choices they ought to make. It’s no better than the wannabe fascist up there telling me how I’m a Nazi for being an atheist. Take your strange reminiscences and go fuck yourself.

  382. Nick Gotts says

    I think abortion is prima facie wrong. It purposely takes the life of an innocent, living member of the species homo sapiens – frowntown

    First of all, if you’re going to use scientific terminology, get it right. It’s Homo sapiens: both the initial upper-case “H” and the italicization are required (underlining can be used if italics are unavailable).

    Now, every unfertilised human egg and every human sperm is a member of the species Homo sapiens. The fact that they happen to be haploid is surely an “accidental characteristic”, if the distinction between a just-fertilised zygote and a newborn is “accidental”. If we are assuming that a just-fertilised zygote is a person, for the sake of argument*, then on what grounds do you deny a gamete of the species Homo sapiens personhood? To be consistent, you must either specify those grounds, or proceed, “for the sake of argument”, on the assumption that human gametes are indeed persons. Where is your concern for their “paramount right” to life? You may say that we cannot possibly keep them all alive, but surely, deliberately denying them even the chance to avoid death, by using contraception, or for that matter by abstaining from copulation at times when conception might be possible, is still morally reprehensible?

    Also, what have you to say about the early embryos created by IVF, and stored in a refrigerated state. By the assumptions you claim to be operating under for the sake of the argument, these are quite clearly persons. Perhaps you will say they should not have been created – but they have been. They cannot be stored indefinitely, so if they are not implanted, this is a deliberate denial of their “paramount right” to life. Who will you force to bear them? Women who have already had an abortion, and thereby forfeited their rights along with their “innocence” perhaps?

    Again, we know that mammalian clones can be brought to term, so it is overwhelmingly likely that human clones (which have been created) can also be brought to term. Once more, you may say they should not be created, but what of those which have? Do they have the same “paramount right to life”?

    And again. By the criteria you are using, every one of the HeLa cells is a person – an “innocent” member of the species Homo sapiens: the fact that they are genetically unusual is surely an “accidental characteristic” if the difference between a just-fertilised zygote and a newborn is “accidental”. Such cells, and those of other human cell lines, are routinely killed at the end of an experiment. Should the scientists doing this be charged with mass murder?

    See, Frowntown, if you’re going to insist, for the sake of argument, that a just-fertilised zygote is a person, it’s only honest to explore the ramifications of that position for the forced-birth side of the argument as well as the pro-choice side. Go on, surprise me: show that a forced-birth advocate is actually capable of honesty.

    *And, of course, absurdly, but I’m playing by your rules, just as you claim to be playing by the rules of the “bodily autonomy” argument.

  383. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    It looks to me like frowntown has a problem not with understanding consent.

    When someone consents to sex, they may revoke their consent at any time. To continue after consent is revoked is rape and morally wrong.

    Conversely, when someone consents to sex, that does not imply consent to pregnancy. Though pregnancy is a product of sex, pregnancy is not what the consent was for (like if someone consents to oral sex, that does not imply consent to swallow ejaculate).

    Then, when someone *does* consent to pregnancy, that consent may be revoked at any time if we grant the person full autonomy. This does NOT imply the death of the conceptus necessarily.

    If you want to argue that bodily autonomy should be oimited in cases where the needy state was caused by the person who wishes to withold the lifesaving use if an organ, then you must first say whether you’re ok with the following: A driver drives negligently and hits someone else with their car. The injured party is injured by being hit by the car in such a way that they will die if a kidney transplant doesn’t occur within a limited time frame. The driver’s kidney is a match and the closest other matching organ donor can’t be reached in time. Should the driver then be forced to temprarily donate a kidney, until another donor can be found. After all, the driver directly (though not purosefully) caused the “needy” state. And if so, for how long shoud the driver be expected to continue ‘loaning’ their kidney, livling on one kidney only?

    See how that works?

  384. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    I am sorry about the offerings to Tpyos. iPad.

    I hope it still makes sense

  385. Thumper; Immorally Inferior Sergeant Major in the Grand Gynarchy Mangina Corps (GGMC) says

    @Dalillama #53

    I think your post was meant for Raven, who said Tuesday was Thor’s day. I pointed out Tuesday is Tyr’s day. Thursday is Thor’s day.

  386. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Before you make another comment on the legacy of Christianity, why not do yourself and your audience a favor by actually reading the biographies of people like Hudson Taylor, Thomas Barclay, Timothy Richardand the plethora of other Christian missionaries who’ve contributed to the general wellbeing and happiness of others at the expense of comfort and fame and best sellers…

    Ah, con artists who sell the delusion that an imaginary deity exists, and that the babble isn’t a book of mythology/fiction. Facts you failed to address, making you whole post Joshua a pile of nonsense.
    Pitiful you have swallowed those fictions hook, line and sinker.

  387. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Frowntown the motormouth

    I’d like to thank all the folks who decided to discuss this calmly and rationally with me. ttys in the next few days.

    Ok folks, I’ll be back eventually.

    Saying the same bullshit over and over and over and over. You are saying nothing new I haven’t heard and refuted since Roe v. Wade. Presuppositional bullshit from start to finish.

    So why bother repeating your bullshit. Once was more than enough to get your number as a con artist.

  388. GrouperFish says

    First, dear williambutler – nope, I’m not in your camp.

    Hi Socio-gen #356

    Thanks for writing back. I think we agree a lot actually!

    If we go all the way back to the beginning: What I wanted to point out was that when the Xtian responder was saying crazy things like:

    What if a woman got pregnant just so she could take a drug that made the fetus limbless? What if she refused to give birth by taking drugs that kept the fetus small and held it inside for 70 years?

    And many people on this forum said exactly what you said – that no woman would ever do that so its a non-issue. I would agree with that. And I wanted to show that saying that that is a non-issue is logically inconsistent with what PZ then said later, which was:

    #126 I would consider a woman to be well within her rights to abort at will. Whim, art, illness, whatever — it’s her body.

    It’s logically inconsistent for this reason: If we say that a woman would never do the things the Xtian suggested, we are saying (I think) that those actions are so weird and twisted that a normal, sane, moral person would never do them, and so we don’t have to even really consider them. However, I found an example where maybe someone did something kind of like that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yale_student_abortion_art_controversy

    And PZ was agreeing that this was ok.
    I think this is inconsistent, because then it would seem that PZ’s response to:

    What if a woman got pregnant just so she could take a drug that made the fetus limbless? What if she refused to give birth by taking drugs that kept the fetus small and held it inside for 70 years?

    Would have to be : Who cares if a woman took a drug to stay pregnant with a dead fetus forever? A fetus is just a living thing like a rutabaga and you can do anything you want to it.

    I am assuming that is PZ’s position, if he thinks that whim – his word not mine – is a reason a woman ends a pregnancy.

    But looking at this blog, your thoughts and the comments of many others, I would argue this is not the position of many people.

    Antibiotics person: Yup I take antibiotics to end bacteria life when they make me sick. Them making me sick is reason enough to kill a bunch of invading bacteria. So, we haven’t disagreed on anything.
    But yeah, I’ve definitely sat in the grass and pulled at it for absolutely no reason at all. I’m just pointing out that for the vast majority of people the vast majority of the time, we end life all the time for all sorts of small reasons, but having the smallest reason – the ants are in the cupboard! – is important because we don’t end life for fun or whim. Generally. Except when maybe its grass or rutabagas.

  389. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    is important because we don’t end life for fun or whim.

    Why do you think this happens? Show some evidence.

  390. jefrir says

    Who cares if a woman took a drug to stay pregnant with a dead fetus forever?

    Well I’d care… because doing that would almost certainly not be healthy for the woman, and would likely indicate a mental health issue that needed attention. So I’d be concerned about the woman. I wouldn’t give a shit about the fetus though.

  391. Thumper; Immorally Inferior Sergeant Major in the Grand Gynarchy Mangina Corps (GGMC) says

    @grouperfish #414

    Did you read that article? Because there appears to be a serious question as to whether or not the “artist” ever did such a thing. Yale maintain that it was a fiction, and that the maintainence of the fiction itself was the performance art. The artist has herself admitted as much in private, though in public she maintains that she did indeed inseminate herself and then take abortion drugs, but adds that because she always took the abortion drugs on the 28th day of her cycle she has no idea if she was ever impregnated or ever caused a miscarriage on herself. Examinations of her studio, where she claims to have carried out the procedures, found no traces of human blood.

    But anyway; if it turns out that she really did do that then I would agree that it is rather sick, and personally I would wonder if she was some sort of sociopath. But does she have the right to do that? Yes, she does. It’s her body. I may not like what she’s doing, but she has the right to do it. I don’t like the BNP, that doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to campaign.

  392. Ichthyic says

    t’s logically inconsistent for this reason:

    fail at comparison.

    those two things aren’t even REMOTELY comparable, and thus do not justify your reasoning at all.

    really.

  393. I've got the WTF blues says

    So far we have discovered that Frowntown doesn’t understand consent, conception, comparisons, or how to read a study (when one explicitly excludes maternal deaths from illegal abortions one cannot claim it proves MMR didn’t increase as the result of making abortion illegal) or rape apology

    Just blah blah blah a bunch of words and boo hoo hoo a bunch of whining about how people are “mean” to him because he believes bodily autonomy is not a fundamental component of equal rights EXCEPT where the baybeeeeez are concerned and whaaaaa I am going to ignore every comment I can’t address and claim it was “screed” that is not applicable to me because I am an extra special smart forced birther and everyone better bring their A game – by which I mean ignore my ethical and logical missteps and treat me as if my arguments have merit no matter how many bad analogies I trump up.

    And yes, having an abortion is exactly like owning a slave. Except, you know, where it is completely different. (speaking of slaves, what does one call it when one uses another’s body against their will to produce things……uh oh)

    I certainly hope he doesn’t have incubators, oops, I mean a wife and/or daughters……

  394. Anri says

    Wow, many of you and frowntown are seriously talking past one another.

    frowntown is tackling the argument that abortion is a right even if we assume that the fetus is as much of a person as to mother. For example, as suggested by rinn at #78.
    This contradicts PZ’s own position, as far as I can tell. He holds (correctly, I believe) that a female fetus is not the same as a woman, and therefore should not be granted the same weight in terms of rights.
    The reason for this is pretty clear: if a fetus is a person, we simply end up with a tug-of-war in terms of bodily autonomy. To continue the pregnancy, Person #1’s bodily autonomy must be compromised (pregnancy), to end it, Person #2’s bodily autonomy must be compromised (abortion).

    That’s not all frowntown was saying, of course, and much of the rest was total crap, but frowntown was only using someone else’s argument that a fetus is a person in the context of this discussion. And repeatedly quoting that they were doing so.

    I think that frowntown showed their true colors with the ‘executioner’ business, but this single point that they were making still hasn’t really been addressed.
    The forced organ donation argument does not sufficiently address this because there’s nothing involving violating someone’s bodily autonomy in not performing a medical procedure.

    Lest I be misunderstood, I do not think this holds any bearing on the real-world question of abortion, as I do not accept that a fetus is a full person. Just as parents (and other guardians) are given substantial control of their children’s (reduced) rights, a pregnant woman has near-complete control over the rights (if any) of the fetus inside of her. The fetus is not a full person, and does not carry a person’s full set of rights. Just as child is not a full person and does not carry a full set of rights.

    (People arguing that birth is an arbitrary line should try the Post Experiment to see if they can determine where that line actually lies.)

  395. Ichthyic says

    is important because we don’t end life for fun or whim.

    …while not forgetting that we also can’t terrorize or make prisoners of people who just happen to be pregnant.

    you clowns keep seeming to forget that part.

    see, here’s the deal:

    if you EVER impose limitations on how a person chooses to bring a child, or not bring one, into the world, you have fucked with the most fundamental right to freedom any of us has ever had. the very first one humans recognized for themselves.

    If you keep THAT as your primary goal: DON’T FUCK WITH A PERSON’S SELF-AUTONOMY

    then the rest will take care of itself. No other arguments are valid, really. They are ALL subjective and emotionally based.

    Every. single. person. in a community MUST agree to whatever laws are enacted that would limit their own autonomy in such a way.

    do you think this has happened in the US? or, in fact, ANYWHERE?

    yeah, there’s the problem we should really be focusing on. Abortion is simply not an issue at all in comparison.

  396. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    frowntown is tackling the argument that abortion is a right even if we assume that the fetus is as much of a person as to mother

    Not from what I see. Nothing but bad faith sophistry that abortion is bad, and should be banned. His “claim” is the wedge he thinks will change our minds. *snicker* Fetus takes all at the end of the day by frowntown.
    Why isn’t frowntown being an honest “questioner”? There is no way his conclusion can be wrong. Unless Frowntown is willing to change xis mind, there is nothing but presuppositional bullshit being presented.

  397. I've got the WTF blues says

    The reason for this is pretty clear: if a fetus is a person, we simply end up with a tug-of-war in terms of bodily autonomy.

    No “we” don’t. Not unless “we” fail to understand consent.

    And all this, “You must agonize over your decision to have an abortion or there is something wrong with you” projection bullshit makes me feel stabby.

  398. Socio-gen, something something... says

    GrouperFish @ 414

    However, I found an example where maybe someone did something kind of like that: Yale student abortion art controversy [edited link-sg]

    As Thumper pointed out, we don’t actually know that is what the artist did. And it’s an extreme example that probably never happened. But suppose this was something common enough we should do something about it.

    How would we know? Unless someone is taking out a billboard or putting a notice on the front page of the local paper, how would you know if someone made the decision “whimsically” or not? You wouldn’t, unless you expect every single prove to prove to you that they’ve actually thought about it.

    To an outside observer, my choice was instantaneous, no thought at all. Except that it wasn’t. As you mentioned in your comment, even those who have not personally faced the decision have thought about what an unplanned pregnancy might mean and what choices they might make given the circumstances of their lives. Just because we aren’t privy to their thought process doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

    I’ve got the WTF blues

    And all this, “You must agonize over your decision to have an abortion or there is something wrong with you” projection bullshit makes me feel stabby.

    Word.

  399. Socio-gen, something something... says

    *Last sentence, para 2 should be: “You wouldn’t unless you expect every single PERSON to prove…”

    Hail Tpyos!

  400. says

    Two questions Frowntown refuses to answer:

    1. Exactly how great a risk of death is it unethical to force another person to endure?

    2. Are anger and rationality mutually exclusive?

    Try writing more concisely, Frowntown. Your drawn-out ramblings are indicative of careless thinking.

  401. says

    Re: the Yale student performance art prjoect:

    Supposing she was inseminating herself and then aborting weeks-old embryos over and over again. As someone observed, actually doing that would be weird and kinda fucked up.

    So what?

    The proposed solution to this alleged problem of women acting weird and kinda fucked-up with regards to the welfare of the embryos inside their bodies, from the opposing side, is to force them to give birth against their will. And most likely become a parent.

    That’s basically saying, “Tough luck kid, your mom’s a sociopath, but you’re her jail sentence, her punishment for bad behavior, so have a nice life.”

    Pro-life my ass.

  402. jeffreylewis says

    frowntown et jeffreylewis, of course you are right that the violinist analogy is not perfect. But, I would say that consent to sex does not imply consent to carry a child, especially in cases when contraceptives were used. So the violinist should be analogous to both rape cases and in cases where contraceptives were used, because due diligence has been exercised to prevent pregnancy.

    I would argue that engaging in an activity with a known risk implies some type of acceptance of that risk. But, to separate myself from frowntown, I also think there’s a large window of opportunity to correct an unwanted pregnancy – the first trimester with no reservation at all, and then later on into the pregnancy for reasons the doctor and woman think are justifiable. And my understanding is that the vast majority of abortions occur within the first trimester (88% according to prochoice.org). I don’t know of the stats on later term abortions, but I would assume that most are for reasons other than simply not wanting a baby, such as complications or birth defects. So, it’s not as if ‘frivolous’ late term abortions are a major problem.

    I think the bodily autonomy argument is a grey area, and I haven’t seen any examples given so far that are directly analogous to pregnancy. Actually, I think that’s part of the problem in these discussions, in that pregnancy is a unique condition. What other instance is there where voluntary action can create a situation where one ‘person’ is totally dependent on another person for survival, with no other possible option for survival.

  403. says

    Actually, I think that’s part of the problem in these discussions, in that pregnancy is a unique condition. What other instance is there where voluntary action can create a situation where one ‘person’ is totally dependent on another person for survival, with no other possible option for survival.

    Well, yeah. Most people talking about pregnancy and abortion NEVER get around to dealing with what pregnancy actually entails: using the strength of your body, the nutrients from your food, to actively create a new human being that hasn’t existed before. Just because it’s a process that you don’t have control over doesn’t mean it doesn’t require work on your part. There’s a reason they call it “labor.”

    The personhood arguments all hinge on pretending that the building process never happens, that it’s *POOF*! a new human being is here now! It’ll be sentient eventually so let’s just pretend that it’s sentient now, and totally erase the difficult work required by the incubator mother to ensure that the organism goes from a ball of undifferentiated cells to a baby.

  404. Nick Gotts says

    frowntown is tackling the argument that abortion is a right even if we assume that the fetus is as much of a person as to mother. For example, as suggested by rinn at #78.
    This contradicts PZ’s own position, as far as I can tell. – Anri

    No, it doesn’t. One can perfectly well maintain both that the fetus is not a person, and that even if it was, the bodily autonomy right of the woman bearing it should take precedence over its right to life – just as, currently, the bodily autonomy of a person refusing to donate a kidney takes precedence over the right to life of the person who will die without that kidney. This is, indeed, my own position.

    I, and I am pretty sure PZ would agree, don’t regard the possession of rights as a matter of objective fact, but as a decision we must make, in the light of the observable or predictable effects of assigning particular rights. In this case, we know that restricting the rights of pregnant women to bodily autonomy will cause many of them enormous suffering and in some cases, death; while there is no evidence that allowing pregnant women full rights of bodily autonomy has any undesirable consequences at all; and it certainly contributes to the cause of gender equality.

  405. Nick Gotts says

    What other instance is there where voluntary action can create a situation where one ‘person’ is totally dependent on another person for survival, with no other possible option for survival. – jeffreylewis

    Such situations have already been described: where one person’s voluntary action causes injury to another, who is then, because of immunological issues, absolutely dependent on the first person’s donation of bodily tissue to stay alive. (This is not as unlikely as it might sound, since such immunologically-determined unique dependence is most likely to occur between close relatives.) Of course no analogy is perfect, but if you are going to reject the closest analogies available, you have to provide an argument as to why the differences make a difference to the outcome.

  406. Thumper; Immorally Inferior Sergeant Major in the Grand Gynarchy Mangina Corps (GGMC) says

    @SallyStrange #427

    The proposed solution to this alleged problem of women acting weird and kinda fucked-up with regards to the welfare of the embryos inside their bodies, from the opposing side, is to force them to give birth against their will. And most likely become a parent.

    That’s basically saying, “Tough luck kid, your mom’s a sociopath, but you’re her jail sentence, her punishment for bad behavior, so have a nice life.”

    Pro-life my ass.

    “Nail, meet hammer. She’s about to smack you straight on the head.”

  407. frowntown says

    @anri

    Thank you so, so much for making an honest attempt to understand what I was saying.

    @SallyStrange

    “1. Exactly how great a risk of death is it unethical to force another person to endure?”

    Juries make these determinations all the time. When two people’s rights come into conflict, we ask people to consider the weight of any threat, and balance it against the weight of their actions. We generally don’t insist that the jury give an exact statistic, and ask that the prosecution proves that those statistics apply. Instead, we ask things like “would a reasonable person have foreseen.”

    The difference in the pregnancy case that makes it all the more important is that the women and her partner entirely caused the conflict in rights, and did so knowingly. The second party, the one whose life is at risk (and not just as a tiny possibility), did not take any action that caused the conflict in rights.

    Do people “consent” to car accidents? Are they not still held responsible, sometimes even being put in jail (and, you know, violating their “right” to freedom?)

    *Are parents with living children not forced to violate their bodily autonomy to care for their children?* Please actually answer this. Also, please take a look at the snowstorm (search from the top, far be it from me to let this post get any longer ;-]) and answer that

    “2. Are anger and rationality mutually exclusive?”

    No, but I’m not interested in talking to people who appear so angry as to be incapable, at that moment, of thinking rationally. I’d rather save my limited time for people who care to discuss things calmly.

    “Try writing more concisely, Frowntown. Your drawn-out ramblings are indicative of careless thinking.”
    I am replying to ten people in my last post o_O

    I’m also forced to spell everything out reeeeeal carefully in an attempt to not be accused (over and over again) of wanting to rape women, because penis.

    @conscioussness razor

    I’ll write a more detailed response to your questions soon, but for now, I’ll share those statistics you asked for (which I shared in detail above… are you people incapable of writing posts without insulting the person you’re speaking to? LOL)

    “Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant. Among those women, 76% of pill users and 49% of condom users report having used their method inconsistently, while 13% of pill users and 14% of condom users report correct use.”

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html [Search for “Contraception Use” on the page.]

    Note, that means that the majority of women who have abortions are not using contraception or are not using it correctly and consistently. That also means that there are a lot of couples using conception properly (at least as far as they can tell) and yet still yielding an unintended pregnancy.

    Look at the typical use (and perfect use) rates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_birth_control_methods

    They’re not as high as one would like. And yes, I think people should be taught those statistics, should know how to use each method properly, etc.

    I have a busy day ahead of me. Talk to you folks later.

  408. says

    So that’s a fail at writing concisely, and a fail at actually answering the question.

    Like I said after he put the scarequotes in abortion “doctors,” Frowntown is really not worth having a conversation with.

  409. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    frowntown

    The difference in the pregnancy case that makes it all the more important is that the women and her partner entirely caused the conflict in rights, and did so knowingly. The second party, the one whose life is at risk (and not just as a tiny possibility), did not take any action that caused the conflict in rights.

    You haven’t yet answered my challenge in 409 that addresses this very point.

    *Are parents with living children not forced to violate their bodily autonomy to care for their children?* Please actually answer this. Also, please take a look at the snowstorm (search from the top, far be it from me to let this post get any longer ;-]) and answer that

    They are not. Even in your snowstorm example. I answered why in my 99. You handwaved the risk away and now you rely on the “but she caused the risk to herself by being an irresponsible slut” and then ignored my 406 and 125. So please, answer my 409 that addresses your “she started it” argument.

  410. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I have a busy day ahead of me. Talk to you folks later.

    Why bother, you haven’t said anything new, and are repeating yourself ad nauseum.

  411. I've got the WTF blues says

    “I have a busy day ahead of me. Talk to at you folks later.”

    There. Fixed that for you.

  412. Pteryxx says

    I’ll chip at this one:

    Note, that means that the majority of women who have abortions are not using contraception or are not using it correctly and consistently. That also means that there are a lot of couples using conception properly (at least as far as they can tell) and yet still yielding an unintended pregnancy.

    – That’s IN THE US. Where there’s a plague of abstinence-only sex “education”, misinformation on contraceptive use, and barriers to contraception access and choice of best method including lack of health insurance and medical professionals invoking conscience clauses.

    – Proper use of contraception won’t account for medical failures or contraceptive sabotage. Contraceptive sabotage alone is probably significantly skewing the typical-use failure rates of contraceptive methods.

    http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/05/when-men-sabotage-birth-control.html

    In Miller’s 2010 study, one of the largest on reproductive coercion to date, 15 percent of 1,300 women who visited federal- and state-subsidized California family-planning clinics had their birth control sabotaged. One in five had been urged by a boyfriend not to use birth control, or told by a boyfriend he would leave her if she wouldn’t get pregnant. A larger portion of respondents, 35 percent, who reported intimate partner violence (IPV) also reported birth-control sabotage.

    – And finally it shouldn’t matter if given pregnancy-susceptible people are using the right kind of medical contraception or using it well enough to earn a passing grade or w’ev, but that’s the point in blaming “women” for not being good enough to be permitted abortions, in case there was any doubt.

  413. says

    It’s fascinating: Frowntown thinks that the personhood argument IS useful, BUT: this means that it’s okay to murder the fetuses of rapists, even if they are full persons, because Reasons (i.e. no sluttery leading to their presence in the womb). Also, it means he’s open to having the government force people to donate their organs and blood to other people if they are somehow found responsible for that other person being in need of organ donation.

    This is anti-choice morality! It’s a doozy.

  414. says

    Pteryxx’s comment also raises the question: if men are found to be guilty of contraception sabotage, does not then the fault for the existence of an embryo fall on THEM? In that case, it would be reasonable to transplant the embryo to the man’s body for gestation–I hear that this occasionally leads to the death of the man in question, but hey, he should have known the risk he was assuming in taking deliberate steps to create an embryo that needed gestation.

  415. jefrir says

    Frowntown, #433

    Are parents with living children not forced to violate their bodily autonomy to care for their children?

    No, they are not. Your money is not your body.

  416. Pteryxx says

    Pteryxx’s comment also raises the question: if men are found to be guilty of contraception sabotage, does not then the fault for the existence of an embryo fall on THEM?

    SallyStrange: only if women have to be found not-guilty of contraceptive incompetence first. /snark

    Less snarkily, when persons interfere with their partner’s contraception to put them at risk of pregnancy, or when abstinence educators or crisis pregnancy clinics or doctors and pharmacists with conscience clauses do the same, THEY should be held morally responsible for the creation and continuation of unwanted and threatening pregnancies. That’s not the world we have, as shown by Frowntown’s focus on women’s responsibility only. (With a mention of ‘couples’ which does not necessarily imply cooperation, consent, or even fertility.)

  417. says

    only if women have to be found not-guilty of contraceptive incompetence first. /snark

    The byzantine levels of intrusive bureacracy that enforcing this mentality would necessitate is a fascist’s wet dream, on so many levels.

  418. jeffreylewis says

    Nick Gotts – I discussed my reservations for the analogies up in comment 186. But please, treat me like I’m dim and give me a detailed scenario of something that I could do to be put in the situation of being compelled to give a donation of bodily tissue because somebody else’s life was endangered by my actions (ignoring the practical question of determining guilt & the timeframe involved in a court trial), because I’m having a hard time imagining a situation where that would be the only option.

    Oh, wait. What about this – a few of my friends and I go out to an isolated shooting range. I act completely negligently with a gun and shoot him. One of our friends just happens to be a doctor and have the appropriate medical equipment onhand, and manages to control the bleeding, but not before the victim lost a substantial amount of blood. If I was a match, should I be compelled to donate some blood to the person I shot? I would say yes, and that at a minimum I should be charged with manslaughter if the person died because of my actions and my refusal to help him.

    But even the above scenario is different from the case of abortion because of the timeframes involved. As I’ve stated numerous times, there are several months where a woman should be able to get an abortion before there should even be any consideration of rights for the developing cells of the fetus. And then it’s a gradient as the fetus develops further and becomes closer to being a person. It’s only late in the pregnancy that I would consider it much of a debate as to whether the fetus’s right to life should be compared to the woman’s right to bodily autonomy.

  419. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    It’s only late in the pregnancy that I would consider it much of a debate as to whether the fetus’s right to life should be compared to the woman’s right to bodily autonomy.

    Luckily by that point (late pregnancy), the termination of the pregnancy most likely results in a living babay! Yays! Everyone wins!

  420. Bicarbonate says

    WARNING: Very long post and some graphic language

    What bothers me the most among Frowntown’s analogies is the one he uses for sex: an orgasm box in a cave.

    Imagine a box in a cave, deep within a forest, several days walk from the edge. There is a button on it. Its functionality is clearly labeled. When a woman presses the button, 99 out of 100 times it will generate an orgasm and a feeling of well being in the button pusher. 1 out of 100 times, it also generates a fully formed newborn infant.

    Why a cave and why in a forest and “deep” within that forest and why “several days walk” from. the. edge. ?

    All so deep, dark and mysterious. Isolated. Fearsome. Fairy tale- and folktale-like. Reminds me of apocryphal accounts of the birth of Jesus (in a cave, and Mary’s vulva goes red hot and burns the hand of the midwife). Also, Nietzsche’s cave where Zarathustra has his terrible epiphany. A place where ogres, monks, hermits, dragons, dwarves, orcs and Neanderthals reside. It is far away from the edge, it is beyond the pale, barbaric and uncivilized.

    You could say the forest is pubic hair and the cave, a vagina. And the isolation of the cave an expression of shame or the forbidden or something. Note that a vagina containing or being an inanimate orgasm box is a particularly creepy view of sex. To the extent that sex involves two people, it isn’t really sex at all, it’s masturbation. And if this is a view of sex, then there is one active button-presser and another person who is no more than a receptacle, a box, that can provide orgasm and hold jism. Clearly a rapist’s view of sex or at very least the conception of a rather clueless heterosexual male who equates having sex with ejaculating in a vagina.

    Yet in his tale it’s a woman pressing buttons. Either she’s masturbating alone with a dildo, in which there is no risk of pregnancy, or Frowntown is attributing a clueless male het experience of sex to a woman.

    Why does he say “when a woman presses” and not “when a person” presses? Is it because when a man presses the button he has no risk of getting the baby, is that it? The babies are a woman’s fault? Yes, fault and guilt is what it’s a question of here. Of getting your hidden guilty jollies without regard to consequences or punishment.

    Most of all this whole analogy is totally divorced from the real world in which unwanted pregnancies occur. Why does that happen? Why or rather how do women get pregnant without meaning to? Anyone who has to ask that question has a very limited experience of heterosexual sex.

    Frowntown claims that

    In 97.5%+ of the 1.2 million abortions that occur each year, the sex that caused the pregnancy was consensual.

    Other people have addressed Frowntown’s failure to understand consent, so for the sake of argument, I’l stay within the bounds — more or less– of the consensual.

    First of all, birth control methods fail. Even women who are on the pill can get pregnant. Children have been born clutching their mother’s I.U.D. (is that a myth?) Condoms slip and burst and are a real hassle. I won’t go into sponges, diaphragms or cervical caps, which all have their problems and pains.

    Secondly, male partners may lie or forget or slip up. They say they’ll pull out in time and then don’t. Sometimes they don’t even ask. They just assume. Sometimes they don’t even care.

    And then there is ignorance and repression. For lack of sex ed, young people may genuinely not know the birds and the bees and /or not know what to expect, how to handle what they are doing, when or how to stop or to pause. They don’t want to seem silly or dumb, so they don’t say anything. Young women may be loathe to carry condoms because they don’t want to “seem like a slut”. And if they are raised to believe that sex is a sin, they may be in total denial of what they are doing while they are doing it.

    Older women may believe they are no longer fertile.

    There are places in the world where contraceptive methods are not available. And in places where they are, people find themselves — for all sorts of different reasons — in situations where they don’t have knowledge of or access to them.

    But barring accidents, bad faith, miscommunication, miscalculation, ignorance, anxiety, loss of control, and not having access to contraception, why do women get pregnant without meaning to?

    Basically it is because having sex is NOT like pushing a button to get an orgasm. Having sex with someone is interacting with that person, otherwise it’s not sex, it’s rape and masturbation by proxy. Having sex is an interaction, like a conversation, and how you do it and why you do it and when you do it and how it goes and evolves and what happens is not simply a matter of some sort of costs/benefits analysis concerning risk (pregnancy, disease…) and orgasm. It is something that flows like a conversation and it is not predictable. It has a life of its own, just like a conversation does. There are always risks and trade-offs in human interaction.

    Frowntown’s analogy of the deep dark cave with its pushbutton orgasm box and a woman deciding whether or not to push it at the risk of getting pregnant, equates vaginal ejaculation with female orgasm. That’s just plain ignorant! There are so many other ways to reach orgasm. And there are so many other reasons and ways to have sex.

    I can’t quite get to the point here but have taken up too much space already.

  421. Pteryxx says

    …Bicarbonate’s entire 447 is QFT.

    Yet in his tale it’s a woman pressing buttons. Either she’s masturbating alone with a dildo, in which there is no risk of pregnancy, or Frowntown is attributing a clueless male het experience of sex to a woman.

    Obligatory educational link to OhJoySexToy (NSFW or Church, obviously)

    *one note: the baby-born-holding-IUD thing seems to be very rare but possible, especially since when a pregnancy occurs with an IUD in place, it’s safer to leave the IUD than to try and remove it without removing the fetus as well.

    Snopes discussion

    Why Don’t More Americans Use IUDs?

  422. Bicarbonate says

    Another issue with the IUD has been its up-front cost. Without insurance, the Mirena costs $843.60, sans the price of insertion.

    It’s about 30€ over here and covered 100% by national health insurance.

    Maybe we should move this to the Lounge.

  423. Pteryxx says

    Bicarbonate: IMHO if Frowntown’s going to cite contraception usage as an argument, it’s not off-topic to discuss contraception usage here, along with whatever other aspects folks wish to address. IUD talk would also be appropriate in the Lounge in general.

    I hope it doesn’t detract from your awesome deconstruction of the general blinkered and reductive view of sex shown by Frowntown’s analogy.

  424. says

    frowntown:

    Are parents with living children not forced to violate their bodily autonomy to care for their children?

    WTF? Of course not. A woman doesn’t have to nurse her baby (we have this magical powder called “infant formula”. Most supermarkets even carry it!) and beyond that I can’t think of another circumstance where a parent (read: mother) would necessarily have to give her child access to her body.

    And let’s say I’m overlooking something really obvious (it’s been known to happen). Guess what? If a parent was unwilling or unable to care for her child, another adult could become that child’s guardian.

    I’ve got the WTF blues:

    And all this, “You must agonize over your decision to have an abortion or there is something wrong with you” projection bullshit makes me feel stabby.

    Thank you. If I found out I was pregnant today, I’d be on the phone with Planned Parenthood tomorrow to schedule an abortion. It would really be no more stressful for me than any other uncomfortable medical procedure is (and decidedly less stressful than being pregnant again).

  425. says

    I looked into getting an IUD. At the time, with health insurance, it had a $500 deductible. I’m not sure if things have changed since the WOO HOO FREE SLUT PILLS! part of the ACA went into effect, but maybe I should ask my doc at my next appointment.

  426. Bicarbonate says

    451 Pteryxx

    Thanx for the compliment and links. I love the graphics of OhJoySexToy, the colors are totally douchey, literally what you’d expect on the cardboard box of a 1960s douchebag but then what’s depicted is so dick-straight-in your-face that the contrast is really queasy-funny-weird.

  427. unclefrogy says

    Missionaries Bah!
    yes they “sacrificed” their lives to come and bring a new religion to a heathen people.
    They that were blessed by history and fortune with having a superior technology left their home lands and came unasked and in many cases against the will of the inhabitants of those “foreign lands with sword, gun and book and attempted with some success to destroy the indigenous culture and replace it with their own because god and wealth and power..
    conquest and subjugation by any other name

    uncle frogy

  428. says

    Alexandra

    beyond that I can’t think of another circumstance where a parent (read: mother) would necessarily have to give her child access to her body.

    It’s an edge case, but there’s an argument that the need to be physically carried might count. Of course, as you note, almost any adult can take over that task at need.

  429. dianne says

    doesn’t donating a kidney significantly increase your long-term risk of needing dialysis?

    It seems logical that it would-after all, if you’ve only got one kidney you’ve got a greater risk of something going wrong with it. But apparently not. According to this article kidney donors are not at increased risk of end stage renal disease, i.e. needing dialysis.Also, I was off re the risk of kidney donation. It’s not the same as pregnancy, it’s 3-4 times safer. Though there are subgroups at higher risk. Also like pregnancy.

  430. Rey Fox says

    Depending on your definition of “need”, you’re right. We don’t “need” them. But we don’t “need” a lot of people, especially the less productive members of our society. That doesn’t mean that they should be killed, or that we ought to provide legal protection to those who decide to kill them!

    You’ll notice that none of the “less productive members of society” (the idle rich, I’m assuming) need to commandeer someone else’s body for sustenance.

    Not that it matters for the sake of this discussion

    Perhaps not, but millions of extra mouths to feed on an already overpopulated planet matters plenty as far as abortion laws are concerned, and I notice that your rhetoric implies that you don’t want it to be legal (except, perhaps, in cases of rape, which I’m sure will be decided on by a very swift and impartial justice system). Never mind all the dangers of illegal abortions, which will not go away no matter how much you care about all the little zygotes.

  431. dianne says

    To continue the pregnancy, Person #1′s bodily autonomy must be compromised (pregnancy), to end it, Person #2′s bodily autonomy must be compromised (abortion).

    Not really. Medical abortion expels the embryo intact. No violation of bodily integrity at all, just withdrawal of outside support. A D&C procedure just removes the embryo or fetus whole as well. Same story.

  432. Nepenthe says

    I think abortion is prima facie wrong. It purposely takes the life of an innocent, living member of the species homo sapiens, i.e., a human, who is in a needy and endangered state due to the freely chosen acts of the person or persons who now want to kill it. I’m against it for probably the same reasons you’d be against (even painlessly) killing a (n even drugged) newborn. I think that any attempt to define personhood such that it excludes the fetus will be either utterly ad hoc (e.g., “it was born”, among others), or will exclude some non-fetal humans who the pro-legalized abortion folks believe should deserve protection, or will have some other similar flaw.

    Could you explain the significance of the bolded portion of your definition? What is so special about being a member of the species Homo sapiens? Why is it wrong to kill an innocent, living Homo sapiens and acceptable to kill an innocent, living Bos taurus, Vespa crabro, or Taraxacum officinale? For that matter, why is it wrong to kill a drugged newborn? Alluding to “reasons” is pretty poor argumentation.

  433. Nick Gotts says

    treat me like I’m dim and give me a detailed scenario of something that I could do to be put in the situation of being compelled to give a donation of bodily tissue because somebody else’s life was endangered by my actions (ignoring the practical question of determining guilt & the timeframe involved in a court trial), because I’m having a hard time imagining a situation where that would be the only option.

    Oh, wait. What about this – a few of my friends and I go out to an isolated shooting range. I act completely negligently with a gun and shoot him. One of our friends just happens to be a doctor and have the appropriate medical equipment onhand, and manages to control the bleeding, but not before the victim lost a substantial amount of blood. If I was a match, should I be compelled to donate some blood to the person I shot? I would say yes – jeffreylewis

    In the scenario you outline, the law says no. You might indeed be charged with manslaughter if they die, but that would be because you negligently shot them, not because you refused to donate blood. But yes, it does appear that you are dim, because there are far more likely scenarios. It is by no means uncommon for a parent to accidentally or deliberately injure their child, and the need for a tissue transplant is not always for blood, and not always immediate. Being dim, you may be unaware that paracetamol can cause liver failure, and that a person can donate part of their liver for a transplant without dying, although the process is by no means risk-free. It is also not vanishingly rare for a close relative to be the only possible tissue match – matching for organ transplants is much more stringent than for blood. Now, suppose that a parent, or older sibling, negligently* allows a child to take a liver-destroying does of paracetamol. Death from this kind of poisoning is a fairly protracted affair – a matter of days. It could certainly be that the only way to save the poisoning victim would be a partial liver transplant from the person negligently responsible for their condition. Now you might well feel, as might I, that it would be pretty shitty for the negligent person not to agree – but the law would be on their side in refusing, and I would say rightly so. Once we abandon bodily autonomy in cases like this, we’re well on the way to medical experiments on those convicted of particularly nasty crimes. Being dim, you may not be aware that dangerous medical experiments on convicts, and on black people who had – through their own voluntary actions in most cases – contracted syphilis, are not exactly ancient history in the USA.

    *It doesn’t have to be negligently: it could be deliberately, or it could be that the person concerned took reasonable precautions, but that nevertheless, if they had not brought paracetamol into the home, the accident would not have happened.

  434. says

    Dalillama:

    It’s an edge case, but there’s an argument that the need to be physically carried might count.

    I had considered that, but (like nursing) a baby’s survival is not dependent on one particular person carrying her.

    Which you noted as well. So we are in total agreement. Let’s just reiterate for frowntown, then:
    A PARENT DOES NOT HAVE TO VIOLATE THEIR BODILY AUTONOMY FOR THE SAKE OF THEIR CHILD. If I willingly give my child access to my breast to nurse, there is no violation. If I don’t, she can get nutrition from formula (or, if she’s old enough, solid food).

  435. Bicarbonate says

    In Japan, when food was scarce or when mothers had no milk and etc., newborns often survived on tea. Also, mastitis is easy to get over usually if you have access to good advice. Breastfeeding is a happiness and a bond like no other. Some women have orgasms with baby at breast. Breastfeeding has health benefits for mother (reduced risk of breast cancer, makes post-pregnancy weight melt away, shrinks the uterus) and baby (immune system, digestive system).

    But all that’s neither here nor there. The analogy of the mother in the cabin who contemplates refusing to breast feed is manipulative, wrong-headed.

  436. says

    Hey, frowntown
    1. Since I’m one of the people you keep quoting: Notice the if clause
    2. You really, really need remedial gestation 101. Pregnancy isn’t a passive state.The fetus agressively invades the maternal tissue, causes havoc with her organs and immune system*, causes lots of pain and yes, a very substantial threat to her life. I know quite a lot of women whose healthy pregnancies turned life-threatening quite suddenly. You never know in advance.
    3. Do you really think that this deserves rights no born person has, which is to use another’s body?
    4. How far would you like to go with your “let’s enslave women” programm? Say a forced pregnancy causes depression, is she allowed to take antidepressants even if they might damage or abort the fetus? What about if she drowns her pain in alcohol? What do you plan to do? And a rare steak? Or sushi?
    5. Why do you actually hate children so much that you wish for them to be born to mothers who resent every second of their existence? Because no matter how much you want to control women, you can’t force them to love somebody.

    *Hey, the third pregnancy got me an autoimmune dissease. It’s not like it’s “temporary use, no harm done”. It’s permanent damage

  437. says

    Alexandra

    Thank you. If I found out I was pregnant today, I’d be on the phone with Planned Parenthood tomorrow to schedule an abortion.

    Count me in. Because I’m actually a responsible adult who has no interest in fucking up my life, those of my husband, existing children or the one that would probably come into existence*

    *If every fetus is a baby, why does nobody keep track of all the horrible manslaughter women commit when they miscarry?

    Bicarbonate

    Breastfeeding is a happiness and a bond like no other.

    I know you mean well, but please, speak only for yourself. Because there are people like me who were seriously hurt by all that breastfeeding is happiness bullshit.

  438. ledasmom says

    Because there are people like me who were seriously hurt by all that breastfeeding is happiness bullshit.

    Certainly by the time I had my seventh or so bout of mastitis I was a little over it. Also, nipple blisters.

  439. brianpansky says

    doesn’t this discussion with frowntown all come down to “no one can use/invade/consume your body without your permission” VS “well sometimes i think they should have to submit to having their body used/invaded/consumed”

    first, it’s one “should” against another. this is already a near impasse. it’s dealing with some of the most basic moral assumptions. i’d even say that comparisons to murder are false, because the above assumptions need to be chosen *before* the idea of murder is generated.

    second, legal is not synonymous to moral.

    i maybe haven’t read every post here, but i don’t get how this conversation is even supposed to theoretically make progress…

    and i think even thought experiments just hide how basic this is. especially the thought experiments that actually leave out the actual use/invasion/consumption of body. (such as the “button” in 92, with obscurantist euphamisms like “food and shelter” even in the update 401. is this a proposal for cannibalism being required to feed?)

  440. anteprepro says

    I just love that someone came in here with a pseudo-Courtier’s Reply about how Famous and Important this Scott Klusendorf fellow is. So what did he do? Well, according to his bio , he’s been a bunch of debate, written some articles, written a book, been on a handful of obscure “secular shows” and visited a ton of Christian shows. Aside from that, he also founded the “Life Training Instiute”, which gets a grand total of 20k hits on Google while his own name gets 40k . For comparison, “The Heritage Foundation” gets 4 mil, “Focus on the Family” and “National Organization for Marriage” get just under that. Alternatively, James Randi Educational Foundation gets 400k, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science gets almost 2 mil. And PZ Myers gets 550k hits.

    If you think that Scott is too famous to be regarded as simply just “some Christian”, then take it up with The Internet. Or reality. Just because you personally know about somebody doesn’t make them important, m’kay? Also:

    Don’t just hang out here on the blog with 388 yes-men/women.

    “Yes-men/women”. 388 of them, apparently. A clear indication that Joshua never bothered to read anything being said before deciding to drop a deuce in the middle of the thread.

  441. unclefrogy says

    this idea of personhood is a little vague as it implies things not stated.
    Does not personhood imply agency? the ability to make decisions to do something?
    if the fetus is an individual and has personhood and therefor agency why is it said that the fetus is innocent?

    When does personhood arise? Do not the male gametes have a degree of agency they are active and seek out the egg.
    There is a direct living link stretching back through time which at no point were any of the sex cells through all the generations not alive.
    The adults humans engage in sex they have no conscious control over their gametes which act on their own. Don’t the gametes exhibit a form of agency?
    So I do not see how if you allow personhood to the fetus you can then deny it agency in its own condition it was a party as was the sex drive of all the generations that proceeded it back to the first life the first living cell.
    It is also completely misleading to say that the mother creates a new life.
    She grows a new individual in side her body but as I noted there was at no time a break between that new individual and the first living cell.
    uncle frogy

  442. anteprepro says

    A MODEST THOUGHT EXPERIMENT

    Imagine that a human person was trapped with a partially dehydrated, freeze-dried person in the middle of a mountainous hellscape, and both were trapped due to an avalanche from the Hill Giants farting overly loud. Now, if the human person left to try to save themselves, they might succeed, but the partially frozen person would completely freeze over and die. The human person could keep the partially frozen person warm and try to thaw them, but the frozen person cannot digest the trail rations that are conveniently infinite supply, due to one of them equipping a bag of holding. The only way to keep the partially frozen person alive is by both constantly being near them and shaving off a piece of their own flesh every day to feed the partially frozen person. It is very likely that the partially frozen person would thaw and be healthy and alive in a mere month, and it is only slightly possible that the human person would die of exposure or massive blood loss during this time. And also merely likely that they will suffer some sort of debilitating health situation. And also merely guaranteed that it will be a painful experience.

    So, now, the real part to think about: What do we say to all the people who jeer that person for not successfully escaping the mountain with a flesh-fed, thawed out travelling partner? What do we say to those people who think that sitting there stranded, shaving off one’s own flesh, is a moral imperative?

  443. Anri says

    WTF Blues:

    The reason for this is pretty clear: if a fetus is a person, we simply end up with a tug-of-war in terms of bodily autonomy.

    No “we” don’t. Not unless “we” fail to understand consent.

    Ok, I’m uncertain – who’s consenting to what in your argument? Assuming – as per the premise – that both pregnant woman and carried fetus are equal persons. I’m not sure what you’re arguing.

    – – –

    Nick Gotts:
    I believe there is a substantial difference between performing a medical procedure and not performing one, morally speaking. Changing someone’s bodily state through action (performing an abortion, preforming an organ transplant) is not the same as failing to change someone’s bodily state through inaction (not doing either of the above.) Would you agree?
    If not, what’s the difference between killing someone and failing to donate your kidney to a dying person? Not in terms of being forced to by the state, but in terms of your own decision? If inaction and action are equivalent, and both result in a bodily violation, how do you distinguish between them morally?

    – – –

    frowntown:

    Thank you so, so much for making an honest attempt to understand what I was saying.

    Don’t thank me – I’m not doing this for your loathsome self, I’m doing it to make sure the regulars don’t rub up against your stupid so much it gets all over them.

    – – –
    dianne:
    So, if a body isn’t damaged, just stopped from living, no-one’s bodily autonomy is violated?
    If someone killed me by using a drug that just stopped my heart without any structural damage, I wouldn’t have had my bodily autonomy violated?
    Are you sure about that? I suspect I’m misunderstanding your argument here.

  444. John Morales says

    [OT]

    anteprepro:

    So, now, the real part to think about: What do we say to all the people who jeer that person for not successfully escaping the mountain with a flesh-fed, thawed out travelling partner? What do we say to those people who think that sitting there stranded, shaving off one’s own flesh, is a moral imperative?

    I’d direct them to read Survivor Type by Stephen King.

  445. consciousness razor says

    Anri, #473:

    dianne:
    So, if a body isn’t damaged, just stopped from living, no-one’s bodily autonomy is violated?
    If someone killed me by using a drug that just stopped my heart without any structural damage, I wouldn’t have had my bodily autonomy violated?
    Are you sure about that? I suspect I’m misunderstanding your argument here.

    I don’t understand where this is going, and honestly I don’t really understand what conclusion dianne was trying to draw from #459 either.

    “Autonomy” doesn’t mean quite the same thing as integrity, in the sense of being undamaged (or remaining whole and intact, etc.). It means having control. So a state which is autonomous is one which asserts its right to govern itself, rather than be subjugated by what it regards as other, external states which may want to take control away from it. It may be damaged by war or disaster, in total civil disorder, or have all kinds of issues which threaten the “health” of the country (the analogy obviously breaks down at some point), yet it still retains its autonomy so long as its self-determination is respected by others.

    Other than in exceptional circumstances like severe mental disability*, all adult human beings (not to mention some other animals) have that ability to control what happens to their own bodies, and to meaningfully care about what happens to them. Consequently, their right to do so should be respected and protected from any laws or institutions or social interactions which threaten that.

    *No, being a woman does not count.

    Fetuses have no such ability in the first place, so there is nothing to protect, no autonomy to violate. You could consider them separate organisms and take into account their separate identity and (perhaps some) ability to independently regulate their actions and bodily functions. But they are not independent agents which control their actions or have any intentions of controlling them. They do not have “a life” of their own the way adults do, or even the way children do. They do not have plans anyone can interfere with. They do not care about themselves or what happens to them, so there’s no use asking them for permission before you (or an outsider) decide what may or may not happen to them. They’re just fetuses.

    That said, I think all of this about personhood is beside the point, because their ability to suffer is what ought to make a difference if anything does. For example, the fact that chimpanzees aren’t “persons” like us, with the same kind and degree of agency, or cognitive abilities to make certain sorts of moral decisions, doesn’t imply what a lot of people seem to think it does. It simply means their choices are limited, not that we have more choices available regarding what we ought to do to them. Whether or not they can treat us (or themselves) a certain way, they can still suffer and that should be why they are morally relevant to us. It’s not the mere fact that they’re alive, are animals, look very similar to us, share lots of DNA with us, or can control their actions like us — the harm which can be done to them is the reason we ought to care about it in the first place.

  446. Anri says

    consciousness razor:

    Yes, I like this line of thinking. It’s clear, and obvious when spelled out that way.

    Quite reasonably, we give parents substantial control of their children’s autonomy, more so the younger and less self-sufficient the child is, regardless of their ‘personhood’ status.

    Thanks!

  447. I've got the WTF blues says

    Ok, I’m uncertain – who’s consenting to what in your argument? Assuming – as per the premise – that both pregnant woman and carried fetus are equal persons. I’m not sure what you’re arguing.

    consent to the use of one’s body

    a question for frowntown – your woman and baby trapped in the cabin without food, why should we not expect the baby to offer itself up to the woman to save her life? it’s more logical – a starving woman is going to find it difficult to maintain a milk supply so they will both likely starve – but if she eats the baby she can subsist for quite a long period of time – wouldn’t that be more ethical?

    assuming equality

    which frowntown actually never has

  448. kittehserf says

    All frowntown & co’s blather just takes me back to “If [cis] men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” And makes me really, reallly wish they could.

  449. says

    Anri

    I believe there is a substantial difference between performing a medical procedure and not performing one, morally speaking. Changing someone’s bodily state through action (performing an abortion, preforming an organ transplant) is not the same as failing to change someone’s bodily state through inaction (not doing either of the above.) Would you agree?

    So, a couple doesn’t vaccinate their child and when the child falls sick with, let’s say measles or whomping cough they don’t seek any medical treatment. The child dies after some weeks of suffering. I s that somehow less wrong because they just didn’t do anything?
    Also: gestation is not a passive state. A woman’s body has to constantly and actively support it. IT’s not “doing nothing”

  450. Nick Gotts says

    I believe there is a substantial difference between performing a medical procedure and not performing one, morally speaking. Changing someone’s bodily state through action (performing an abortion, preforming an organ transplant) is not the same as failing to change someone’s bodily state through inaction (not doing either of the above.) Would you agree? – Anri

    Yes of course I would: that’s why the law says you must not kill someone, but are not obliged to give them aa kidney even to save their life. That is: you have the right not to take risks with your own health or allow someone else use of your body in order to save their life; and I consider that you should have that right, irrespective of what you may have done. In the case of pregnancy, the fetus (irrespective of the absurd assumption that it is a person) is making use of someone else’s body, to the risk of their health, in order to stay alive. It should not be allowed to do that if that other person’s consent is withdrawn.

    To clarify my own position: if – contrary to fact – the fetus were a person, that might change my moral judgement of women who chose abortion under certain circumstances, but it would not change my conviction that they should have the absolute right to do so.

  451. Maureen Brian says

    But hang on, Nick, the “did nothing therefore innocent” notion has limitations.

    The law recognises manslaughter by gross negligence, manslaughter by negligence and failure to act in accordance with a contract or a duty of care. They’re just a bit harder to prove than, “She hit him with a frying pan, guv.”

    Any one of those might involve not doing something or other — not reducing speed in foggy* conditions, not replacing the guard on a piece of machinery or, as above, the not providing prophylactic medicine as above.

    * a href=”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23971322″>Kent- pile-up

  452. dianne says

    So, if a body isn’t damaged, just stopped from living, no-one’s bodily autonomy is violated?

    A lot of the pro-enslavement people are arguing that forced pregnancy is nothing like forced organ donation because with refusing organ donation you’re simply passively refusing to give the person what they need to survive, whereas with abortion you’re “actively killing”. I’m claiming that in most cases you’re not actively killing by abortion but simply withdrawing what the embryo needs to survive, so that it is entirely parallel. Refusal to give nutrients via the blood versus refusal to provide blood, I see no obvious difference.

  453. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @dianne:

    I think a lot of female folk would even be willing to donate the placenta during the separation.

  454. dianne says

    What do we say to those people who think that sitting there stranded, shaving off one’s own flesh, is a moral imperative?

    A moral imperative maybe. A legal imperative, never.

    There is a real world situation that is a little like this: Suppose you’re hiking with one other person and that person is struck by lightening. They aren’t significantly burned, by some odd miracle, but the lightening stopped their heart and respiration. If you can do CPR long enough, they have a good chance of survival. But you’re all alone in the wilderness. If you become exhausted and unable to continue, should you be prosecuted for manslaughter for failing to continue to provide CPR?

    There is an answer, BTW. It is provided in BLS classes: no. Physical exhaustion is a completely acceptable reason to stop CPR. The person who failed to continue because they were exhausted has no liability. They don’t have to continue to the point that their own life is endangered. They don’t have to continue until they have a heart attack or myositis from the effort. Simply feeling that they can’t go on any longer is enough. Why should a woman be blamed for ending a pregnancy that she feels is too much?

  455. dianne says

    Crip Dyke: Right. In fact, they kind of have to because leaving random bits of the products of conception is bad. So if the anti-choicers really wanted to save these “babies” they’d push for the development of artificial uteri. Then there’s no need for the embryo to die: Just do the D&C and pop it into the artificial uterus where it can grow happily and be adopted or whatever. No fuss, no muss, no one has to be used as a slave*. Yet they’re totally uninterested in such technology. Strange.

    *Yes, I realize this would lead to a lot of new problems. I’d be happy to explore them if anyone wants the thread to take that turn…

  456. dianne says

    It purposely takes the life of an innocent, living member of the species homo sapiens, i.e., a human, who is in a needy and endangered state due to the freely chosen acts of the person or persons who now want to kill it.

    Why? What’s so special about H sap that killing one is wrong and killing another animal or plant or whatever is ok?

    I’m against it for probably the same reasons you’d be against (even painlessly) killing a (n even drugged) newborn.

    So how do you feel about withdrawal of care? Take as an example a newborn born at 23 weeks. It is given immediate extraordinary measures to save its life, but, one week later, things aren’t going well. It’s still on a ventilator and even with maximum support it is getting brain damage from hypoxia. Its kidneys has shut down and it is on dialysis. It has had numerous seizures. It has become infected with rotovirus that it was exposed to when a non-vaxing parent whose child had it came to the ICU. Should the parents be given the option of withdrawing all care but comfort measures, knowing that this active act will lead to the child dying? Or should it be forced to live in agony a bit longer?

  457. vaiyt says

    @frowntown
    If abortion is murder, is miscarriage involuntary manslaughter? What about failed implantation? Think about all the zygotes that die and not even the woman knows about it!

    @Nick Gotts

    He has!

    Sorry, I’m talking actual presence, not second-hand testimony written in a book that went through who knows how many hands.

    @brianpansky
    i maybe haven’t read every post here, but i don’t get how this conversation is even supposed to theoretically make progress…

    People who aren’t blinkered idiots might read it and learn something. I know, it happened to me.

  458. vaiyt says

    Ack, mutilated the quote on the last one.

    i maybe haven’t read every post here, but i don’t get how this conversation is even supposed to theoretically make progress…

    People who aren’t blinkered idiots might read it and learn something. I know, it happened to me.

  459. frowntown says

    @all
    Just to avoid the inevitable, especially with new readers: My comments are directed to those who believe that the bodily rights argument works even *if* the fetus is a person (that is, even if the fetus deserves equal rights to born people.) I’m not particularly interested in discussing (at this moment) why human beings deserve rights. I said as much earlier, but answered just for the record. Sorry.

    There’s no way I’m going to have time to answer all these posts in a timely manner , but I’ll do my best, over time.

    ##
    RE the artificial womb
    Of course, I’d love for there to be an artificial womb! I think that’d eliminate the reason for the vast majority of abortions, assuming that there is a guardian available to care for the child once it’s “born.” Unfortunately, there are at least some women who don’t only want to stop being pregnant, but also explicitly want the fetus killed (saying things like “I can’t live with the knowledge that they might go into the foster system.”) Still, an artificial uterus would eliminate the desire for the vast majority of abortions and would be a wonderful advance, as would contraception that only failed in fluke conditions (and had no common serious unwanted side effects.)

    I’m with you on the whole ‘The world would be a better place if couples could have sex whenever they want and not have to worry at all about the consequences.’

    ##
    @Dalillama:

    “A PARENT DOES NOT HAVE TO VIOLATE THEIR BODILY AUTONOMY FOR THE SAKE OF THEIR CHILD. ”

    But what about instances when there isn’t a second guardian available, to whom the child can be safely transferred? This occurs both in early pregnancy and, e.g., in the snowstorm thought experiment (where there is no formula.) What if, for some reason, the infant was not able to keep any other food down, besides breast milk? What if the infant needed to be carried? Again, assuming that there is no alternative guardian.

    Should it be legal for the mother to starve the infant to death? Would you support her right to outright kill the infant, if it was crying and causing her severe mental pain and depression?

    Finally, what about the time between when a couple has decided to “revoke consent” to their child to make demands on their bodies and the products thereof, and the time when they finally “hand off” the child to a second guardian (obviously, there will often be time between those moments?) Should they really be allowed to *immediately* and on the spot revoke consent? Such that the child is essentially without care? Or do you agree that they must care for the child at least until the child is surrendered to a location where a safe guardian can take over?

    ##
    @gen uppity ingrate

    I already discussed (at least a bit) the conditions under which I’d be open to legislation that would force people to violate their bodily autonomy. I’ll try to add a bit more detail below.

    That said, here are some of the conditions that come to mind, where the rights of the two people involved would need to be balanced against each other.

    If:

    1) the person [p] being asked to violate their autonomy for the sake of the victim [v] was directly responsible for the act
    2) v took no direct part in bringing about the circumstances
    3) if a reasonable person could foresee the danger involved (e.g., if it happens all the time)
    4) if the harm likely to be caused by forcing p to supply help was significantly less than the likely to be fatal condition caused in v by p

    I’m still trying to figure out whether either of the below are necessary conditions, or whether the conditions together above are sufficient:

    5) p is the parent of v (we already agree that parents have a greater obligation to their children than they do to random strangers)
    6) p has already created the circumstances wherein they are connected

    I don’t think 6 needs to apply, though the case is much stronger if it does. For example, if people routinely exposed their children to benzene, thus causing a fatal condition, and this lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands or even a million children per year, then yes, I’d support legislation stating that parents had to care for their children, even if doing so meant a painful procedure, for example, ongoing bone marrow transplants. You wouldn’t? o_O

    Another scenario, but one where 6 applies, would be – P walks up to his daughter, V, and whirls about with a metal tube, because it’s fun and improves his health (perhaps it’s a great new way to exercise.) This metal tube ends up lodged inside both V’s and P’s stomach. Doctors tell P that he will be locally anesthetized so he doesn’t feel horrific pain (but he will feel some intense pain, especially once it’s finally removed), and that they can rebuild V’s tissue if he stays connected for a few months. In the meantime, his daughter V will die if they disconnect them. Further, suppose that this happens somewhat regularly when people whirl a metal tube around their children, and that people do so all the time, and that a million children are dying each year as a result of parents disconnecting after metal tube whirling accidents. This is reported all over the press, so P knows that whirling the tube around can have this effect (i.e., he can reasonably foresee that whirling the tube about might cause the effect.) He tells V to be careful (he’s trying *something* to avoid it), but then uses the whirling tube anyways. Note that this is different than forced organ donation, where one would have to actively violate the bodily integrity of P to save V. But *P has already created the state* wherein P and V are in a state that would normally be considered a violation, whether he specifically *intended* to or not.

    In that case, yes! I’d be in favor of forcing him to stay connected to her, or punishing him if he disconnected. I’d especially be opposed to his insisting that someone crush his daughters’ skull, so that the tissue connecting her to the tube would soften, making it easier for him to get around (and this, even if they gave her drugs that made her not feel pain during it, nor experience fear leading up to it.)

    Do you think that disconnecting after whirling the metal tube around should be legal? How about crushing the skull of v since it reduces the chances that p will experience pain or danger when getting the tube removed from his belly?

    Regarding your 99, I didn’t “wave the risk away.” I said that I was specifically referring to those cases (the vast, vast, vast, vast majority) in which there is no evidence to believe that the pregnancy is likely to be fatal. You can change the experiment slightly by saying that the mastitis is deadly 0.015% of the time, but that there is absolutely no evidence, to date, that her mastitis is approaching that level of danger. Does that change your appraisal of it?

    You and others also keep accusing me of being motivated by a desire to punish “sluts.” I don’t even need to ask you for a definition of that word, because I don’t believe that pregnancy should be understood as punishment. I am not advocating that those women who have sex and yet avoid pregnancy ought to be impregnated against their will “as punishment.” I’m saying that when they consented to and participated in action that can be reasonably foreseen to cause a pregnancy themselves, than they should not be allowed to legally kill another human being to escape responsibility of that action, should a pregnancy occur. I know it’s a subtle difference, but it is an important one. I think the same goes for married women, women in long term committed relationships, women who are having one night stands, multiple partners, etc. I don’t know if your definition of “slut” includes those women, but I don’t use the word so I know I wouldn’t refer to any of them that way.

    I’ll get to more of your questions/concerns later.

    ##
    @Bicarbonate

    You folks can’t help but to find a rapist lurking behind every analogy. It’s obvious why, too. It’s the ultimate accusation one can use to poison the well. Nothing is more abhorrent than rape, so it plays well. In effect, saying “See, this guy cares so little about women that he’s actually a rapist, just looking for another way to control the sexual organs of women. Obviously, he can’t be right.”

    But no, you’ve (shockingly) misinterpreted the reason for me selecting the setting I did, the simplification of the act of consensual sex, etc.

    The child is in a cave, deep within a forest, because walking away leaves the child far from help, hidden, and unlikely to be rescued by a second guardian. That’s all! I know, I know. It’s not as exciting and dramatic and psychosexual, and leaves one struggling, if they want to demagogue and unload ad hominem motive-mentalist attacks. Sorry.

    I already addressed the issue with the woman pressing the button, and noted “Just substitute that the woman and her partner agree to press it at the same time. All of the same logic still applies.” I was trying to keep the discussion of a complex topic a bit more concise. That’s all. A charitable reading, in the context of my post, will make it clear that “pressing the button” is intended to stand in for “consensual intercourse”, which of course requires two willing partners. The entire point of the thought experiment is not to say “this is so much like sex”, but to say “look, I think you’ll agree that even if they didn’t ‘intend’ to generate the newborn (which is used because I am addressing those who believe the bodily rights argument works even *if* personhood is granted), they are still at least somewhat responsible for the effects of their decision.”

    So, that clarified, please address the thought experiment directly. Would you support the “right” of the couple who pressed the button to walk away, leaving the child to starve? Should they be allowed to kill it, even painlessly, on the spot? Or do you agree that they have *some* responsibility to that child, since they knew that pressing the button (especially repeatedly!) might lead to that condition.

    It’s a thought experiment, and, like many others, uses an unrealistic scenario to shave away some of the complexity. Compare it to your side’s precious, wildly-disanalogous-to-97+%-of-pregnancies violinist. Thought experiments are one of the primary tools people use to reason about difficult to understand or settle moral issues. They’re employed to look for holes in a theory, or to demonstrate that a moral intuition that one holds in one scenario might also apply in another scenario, etc.

    ##
    @SallyStrange

    “It’s fascinating: Frowntown thinks that the personhood argument IS useful, BUT: this means that it’s okay to murder the fetuses of rapists, even if they are full persons, because Reasons”

    My intuition tells me that abortion following a rape is wrong. But, in the absence of arguments that settle for me the bodily autonomy argument after rape, I’d not be willing to impose my beliefs, legislatively, on others. I’d instead try to persuade them. We, as a society, routinely impose our beliefs legislatively, but I think we should do so very cautiously. I do think that there are some arguments that might work against it (with respect to the principle of double effect [at least as it’d apply to many abortions], as well as analogies to born children who are later determined to be the product of rape, etc,), but I’m still mulling all of that over. I’m trying to honestly engage the argument even though the conclusion of it militates against my original moral intuition.

    “Also, it means he’s open to having the government force people to donate their organs and blood to other people if they are somehow found responsible for that other person being in need of organ donation.”

    I explained the conditions, above, under which I’d be open to having the government force people to donate blood (etc) to other people, or stay connected to them.

    ##
    @diane

    You bring up an interesting moral quandary, and one that I’ll consider in the future.

    But it also completely changes the proffered justification for the act in question. The reason the parents, in your scenario, would be deciding to allow the newborn to die, is not to avoid having to care for it, but because there is strong evidence that the newborn is in agony and is very likely to die in the immediate future anyways. In other words, they are acting according to what they believe is the infant’s best interest, based on strong evidence that it is suffering and will die regardless. That’s very different than, e.g., asphyxiating a newborn because he *might* have an unhappy life, or starving a newborn because you “revoke consent” to care for it, or beheading your toddler because she acquired a somewhat painful condition. So unless you’re fine with *that* (“well, this 3 month old MIGHT be unhappy later and I don’t feel like caring for it now, therefore we should be allowed to starve it to death — don’t worry! we’ll use medication that prevents pain/awareness!”), then I don’t think it factors in directly to the vast majority (93+%, at least) of abortions, and especially not into the bodily rights argument.

    But thank you for raising it, it’s not something I’ve considered at length, especially lately.

    ##
    RE the rest of you, or those above who still have some unanswered questions

    The above might answer some of your questions. I’d really appreciate if you skim it to see if I address something you asked, so I can avoid repeating the same things over and over again. I’ll continue the rest of the discussion as time permits.

  460. Nepenthe says

    Frowntown is the reason I find the bodily autonomy argument irritating. It doesn’t convince anyone who does not believe in bodily autonomy, which the vast majority of forced birthers apparently do not believe in outright, nor does it convince anyone who ostensibly believes in bodily autonomy but also believes that a fetus is a person and that the “right” to life out weighs that to bodily autonomy. The fact that a fetus is not a person in any reasonable definition of the term isn’t something that needs to be thrown away; its the cornerstone. And if the argument would make a forced birther finally answer the question of why killing persons is wrong,* that would just be gravy.

    Not that I’m holding my breath.

    *Has anyone ever encountered a forced birther who didn’t believe in souls, either in traditional supernatural form or the atheist approved “unique human DNA”?

  461. Anri says

    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-:

    So, a couple doesn’t vaccinate their child and when the child falls sick with, let’s say measles or whomping cough they don’t seek any medical treatment. The child dies after some weeks of suffering. I s that somehow less wrong because they just didn’t do anything?

    Do I believe there is a difference in morality between deliberately infecting an unimmunized child with measles or whooping cough (performing an action) and failing to immunize them (not performing an action)?
    Yes, yes I do.
    I believe there is a difference between letting bad things happen and making bad things happen.
    Do you?

    Also: gestation is not a passive state. A woman’s body has to constantly and actively support it. IT’s not “doing nothing”

    Ok, I kinda thought I didn’t have to stipulate conscious actions… unless you believe a woman can’t gestate while she’s asleep…
    But, really, I think you knew that distinction already. Why you are attempting to appear as if you didn’t I can’t say.

  462. Anri says

    frowntown:

    But what about instances when there isn’t a second guardian available, to whom the child can be safely transferred? This occurs both in early pregnancy and, e.g., in the snowstorm thought experiment (where there is no formula.) What if, for some reason, the infant was not able to keep any other food down, besides breast milk? What if the infant needed to be carried? Again, assuming that there is no alternative guardian.

    Please accept the fact that you have to constantly make any scenario more and more convoluted to fit your thought processes as a measure of their applicability to the real world.
    Here’s the answer to your thought experiment: Given that you are not the woman with the infant, by what authority do you seek to make her decision for her? Your entire scenario is predicated on you knowing her course of action better than she does. You haven’t demonstrated that.

  463. Joshua says

    @alwayscurious

    “That most likely disqualifies him from taking up any time from the great Scott Klusendorf, masterful author & speaker. He surely has better things to do than waste his time on someone so backward & unlearned on the topic.”

    Do we really need to resort to an ad hominem to prove a point? What piece of data or information do you have of Scott Klusendorf that entitles you to call him “backward and unlearned on the [abortion] topic” (apart from the fact that he must be because he disagrees with you, I mean)?

    As I said in my original post, given the fact that Scott is one of the foremost Christian apologists writing and speaking on the subject of abortion, it seems to me that someone who is going to attack two positions simultaneously — that of Christianity and pro-life — as irrational, illogical, etc. (as PZ Myers has done now) would have been acquainted with their actual arguments and points of view.

    “You were so quick to provide a link for John Montgomery that you must have missed linking a page on Scott. Maybe you could just pass along his CV when you get the chance so we can all be surprised and study up.

    Well, I didn’t provide a link to Scott’s info because I mistakenly thought that PZ had a link to in the original post. But let me correct that now: Scott Klusendorf. Thanks!

    And I thought it was important to provide a link with some info on Montgomery, especially since PZ incorrectly and impolitely referred to him as “some theologian”. He’s actually a very educated guy whose insights shouldn’t be so casually brushed aside.

    Minor factual corrections: the Chinese developed writing before Jesus was even prophesized about; literacy and literature were well established in the Far East before Jesus was even born; and printing presses with movable type were developed in Korea centuries before Gutenberg (not to say he didn’t make important improvements).

    You’d be right… if I was talking about China and the Chinese language. But I wasn’t. Thanks for the brief history of Chinese writing and printing though. Mandarin is my second language and studying Chinese history and religions is somewhat of a passion of mine, so I didn’t learn anything new from it.

    So are you saying that Christians forced isolated civilizations to adopt their ways after being overlooked by or outright rejecting the very same advances available from nearby countries?

    Are you very familiar with Chinese history? I have to wonder because no-one who read into it from one of the many myriads of voices would come away thinking that the Chinese have, historically, been the type of society that ever, at least in recent memory, been bothered with any sort of genuine altruism.

    Your mischaracterization of the reaction of people to Christian missionaries is self-serving, I know. But anyone who reads that accounts of people like Hudson Taylor, Thomas Barclay, and others, they would see that there were so many people open and welcome to advancements and alterations to their cultures and traditions.

    Anyway, this thread is about PZ and his perspective(s) on Christianity and abortion. Let’s get back to those.

    Would you like to see a debate between Scott and PZ?

    Joshua

    PS – I apologize for my misspelling of “Meyers” [sic] in my original post. It should be “Myers”.

  464. dianne says

    Of course, I’d love for there to be an artificial womb!

    But how much do you want it. That’s the question. Do you want it as much as you want, say, enough food to avoid starvation or police and fire protection or even good roads? The majority of country-including those who claim to be “pro-life”-have said “no”. How have they said no? By not funding the research that would have produced one.

    There was a project to produce an artificial uterus ongoing some time ago. They had managed to get very near to success gestating (I think) goat fetuses to term, though had some technical issues that made it not yet ready to try on humans. Then the project was defunded. Deemed not interesting enough to continue. Why? Surely if the majority of the population is really worried about the deaths of fetuses, especially late fetuses, this project should be extremely high priority. It could help provide another alternative to abortion as well as save more babies born at 23 weeks (who really need more time in utero to be healthy). Why isn’t it a high priority? I must conclude that you don’t care all that much about the death of fetuses, as long as the death doesn’t in some way improve the lot of the pregnant woman. Then and only then does it become a high priority.